GD Pork closer to expansion

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Pork plea: WA pork producers say they cannot meet local and overseas demand for their product.
Camera IconPork plea: WA pork producers say they cannot meet local and overseas demand for their product. Credit: The West Australian

GD Pork is a step closer to its goal of dramatically expanding pig production in WA after gaining a tick of approval from the Department of Planning.

The department’s Great Southern joint development assessment panel has cleared the way for a $14.5 million investment at a Kojonup piggery owned by the company.

GD Pork plans to build nine new sheds, silos and a feed mill as pig numbers on the farm more than double to almost 28,500.

Managing director Torben Soerensen said the approval represented a significant victory in a long-running battle with bureaucracy in WA.

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The Danish-backed company has been fighting for approval for a similar-sized piggery at Kemerton and to expand its breeding operations at Pinjarra as part an overall investment of almost $40 million.

“The expansion projects are just a reply to the huge demand there is for pork,” Mr Soerensen said. “We can’t keep up with domestic demand and on top of that Singapore is screaming out for more of our pork.”

Craig Mostyn Group chief executive David Lock, whose company dominates pork processing in WA, said export and domestic sales were going begging because of a shortage in supply.

“We have got customers from Singapore as well as domestic customers crying out for more volume,” Mr Lock said.

Mr Lock said it was disappointing that a supplier like GD Pork had hit so many barriers in trying to boost production.

Mr Soerensen said the battle to rebuild an existing piggery in the buffer zone around the Kemerton industrial park was now before the State Administrative Tribunal after local authorities rejected the project.

He said most of the company’s frustration stemmed from long delays at the Department of Environmental Regulation.

GD Pork hopes to begin working on the Kojonup expansion before the end of the year subject to getting a green light from the environmental watchdog.

Mr Soerensen said his two Danish partners were big pig producers in their home country and also had interests in eastern Europe and Brazil.

“Denmark is smaller than Tasmania and in Denmark they produce 30 million pigs a year,” he said. “In all of Australia, we produce 4.5 million pigs a year. In China they produce and consume 700 million pigs a year.

CMG exports about $50 million of pork a year to Singapore but estimates it could grow the market by 50 per cent within two years. It plans to double production at its Mogumber farm to about 2000 pigs a week by 2018.

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