In a major win for horticulturalists, and in a Victorian first, the Andrews Labor Government has helped lure decontamination processor  Steritech to the Melbourne Market.

Steritech is set to open a new X-ray treatment facility that will boost export potential, and provide Victorian producers with a major market advantage.

Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, and Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny today announced the Labor Government’s $4.9 million investment towards the development of the fresh produce X-ray treatment facility at the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market in Epping.

X-ray treatment is a phytosanitary measure, using new technology for fresh horticultural produce that enables growers to meet export market access requirements. It is also a viable alternative to chemical treatment or prolonged cold storage of product.

The project involves construction of a 3396sqm warehouse, buildings, and coolrooms at the Melbourne Markets – which will be a long term beneficiary of the project.

The new facility is set to reduce costs and improve profitability for Victorian producers as they will no longer need to transport export-bound produce to Queensland for treatment. Reducing transport and handling of product will also lower product wastage.

It will enable Victoria’s horticulture producers to meet increasing demand from international markets for high quality product. Unlike some other treatment options, X-ray treatment does not significantly reduce commodity quality and may extend shelf life.

The Labor Government will provide funding to secure Steritech’s position in Victoria and leverage substantial investment from the company. The investment will mean a 10 per cent reduction in transport costs for Victorian horticultural exporters using Steritech’s facilities.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

This is a massive win for growers across our State, a boost for jobs, exports and a Victorian first. The new facility will significantly reduce transport and handling costs and further boost Victoria’s growing $1.1 billion horticultural industry.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny

“Agriculture has a great future and will continue to grow Victorian exports, drive jobs along the supply chain and enhance the wellbeing of rural communities. I’m looking forward to having this innovative business in my electorate and the ongoing jobs it will create” 

Quotes attributable to Melbourne Market CEO Mark Maskiell

“Securing Steritech at the Market is a very significant step forward in expanding the Market’s role into other areas of the supply chain to create a hub of international significance.”