They’re small, crispy, coated in chocolate and more than 4.7 billion of them will soon be made in Ballarat every year.
The production of Maltesers at Mars Chocolate Australia’s Ballarat plant will now double, thanks to a $52 million expansion announced at the Wendouree facility yesterday.
Mars announced a new Maltesers production facility would be built within the next 12 months, while other parts of the Ring Road plant will receive upgrades over the next few years.
General manager Michael Ryan said the expansion secured hundreds of Ballarat jobs years into the future.
“(Employees) feel really good about the business and this announcement give them a lot of confidence,” he said.
“It’s a great team here ... it’s a great workforce and I think also it’s a great lifestyle here in Ballarat.”
“A lot of the people who work here are from Ballarat, but others come from Melbourne and Sydney and find it’s a great place to live as well.”
Mr Ryan said 100 jobs “predominantly” from Ballarat would be created during the construction phase.
“Post that, it’s really about securing the ongoing success of the business,” he said.
“What we’re focusing on there is the investment we’re putting into the local community, which is nearly $150 million in wages, payments to contractors and suppliers.”
In Ballarat for the announcement yesterday, Premier Ted Baillieu said the investment was great news for Ballarat.
“By supporting Mars to lower operating costs, we are securing the jobs of the plant’s 424 workers and contractors,” he said.
“This significant new investment will generate more construction jobs in Ballarat and boost exports from regional Victoria.”R
The Victorian government contributed $2 million towards the expansion, with $1.5 million earmarked for the energy and water upgrades and a further $500,000 for production line upgrades.
Ballarat MP Catherine King said it was a fantastic decision by Mars and a “vote of confidence” in Ballarat.
City of Ballarat Mayor John Burt welcomed delegates to the announcement and declared to the packed room that Ballarat was “greatest city in Australia”.