Food processing jobs promised for SA as Thomas Foods signs export deal with Thailand’s CP Group
A South Australian food company is promising a significant number of local jobs out of a deal it has reached with a group of Thailand’s biggest private businesses.
Thomas Foods International has signed a memorandum of understanding with Thailand’s CP Group to build an advanced food processing centre to produce ready-made meals for export.
Thomas Foods chief executive Darren Thomas said it could lead to tens of millions of dollars of investment.
“It will be one of our company’s biggest investments so it’ll be in the millions of dollars and the jobs will be there and they’ll be significant,” he said.
The SA Government hoped the deal might benefit Adelaide’s northern suburbs, where the unemployment rate is expected to rise once Holden shuts its car manufacturing plant by 2017.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the northern suburbs and the land availability,” Mr Thomas said.
“If you look at land availability … it would be a logical choice to be looking there.”
Auto workers might move to food processing
Mr Thomas said some of the automotive workers losing their current jobs might be well-suited to the potential work in food processing.
“[That is] because of the high technology and automation, in that there are some skill sets there that I think would be useful and we’ve had discussions along those lines,” he said.
The memorandum of understanding arose from a recent South Australian trade mission to South East Asia, during which the State Government and Austrade introduced the two companies.
Premier Jay Weatherill said there was no decision yet on where to build a processing plant, but he would be keen to see it in the northern suburbs.
“While manufacturing generally in South Australia has been in decline, food manufacturing as a category has actually been going up,” he said.
“So there are bright spots in the manufacturing sector and food is one of them.”
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