A $400 million fruit and vegetable processing facility proposed for the Lockyer Valley has been approved.
Lockyer Valley Fruit and Vegetable Processing Company's development application to build the facility was given the green light by Lockyer Valley Regional Council this week.
The facility endeavours to provide a multi-diverse packaging operation for fresh, frozen, powdered and canned fruit and vegetable markets, sourced primarily from the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, and Darling Downs regions.
Lockyer Valley Foods will be situated on a 56-hectare site, 100km west of Brisbane, nestled in the foothills of Toowoomba at Withcott.
The approval comes with 76 conditions, all of which project founder and CEO Colin Dorber believes it can manage to ensure the first stage build of this project, valued at $80 million, starts in early 2023.
Mr Dorber said he was excited about the long-term goal coming to fruition and was committed to working with growers and the community to establish the facility.
"This is truly the best Christmas present we could give to the community and growers of the Lockyer Valley and surrounding areas," Mr Dorber said.
"This project will increase the profitability of farmers and growers, and incorporate better water management and processing practices."
Mr Dorber said the development application reflected "a massive, ongoing commitment to doing this right".
He said it would use world-leading technology to bring the best environmental management possible and to create more jobs.
"We have devoted much care, and attention to protecting wildlife and ensuring the trees on our land are preserved in perpetuity," he said.
"This project is in the best interests of not only the farming and growing community of Queensland, but also regional dwellers looking to secure long-term employment in our growing region."
Mr Dorber also said another achievement had been creating The Lockyer Fruit and Veggie Cooperative Ltd, designed to bring about the majority ownership of this project "by Australians, for Australians".
Stage one includes fresh fruit and vegetable frozen product ranges that will be sourced, processed and packed locally, in the Lockyer Valley.
Over the course of the five stages, the company projects 500 jobs for people in the region; from construction through to plant operation.
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