• Opal's new fibre packaging facility in Wodonga covers 55,000 square metres.
    Opal's new fibre packaging facility in Wodonga covers 55,000 square metres.

Opal’s world class, $140 million corrugated cardboard packaging facility in Wodonga was officially opened on 15 November, with a special ceremony well-timed to coincide with National Recycling Week.

The new fibre-packaging facility at Wodonga is equipped with the latest advanced, high-speed packaging manufacturing technology, and has a total footprint of approximately 55,000 square metres. The facility also features a highly automated materials and waste handling system.

As previously reported in PKN, this plant installation marks the first stage of Opal’s investment in capability to supply packaging for a wide range of fresh produce, food processing, FMCG and manufacturing industries across Australia. The second stage will see the extension of the facility’s supply capacity to meet anticipated growth in demand.

The Wodonga facility will process recycled and kraft paper from Opal’s Botany Mill in Sydney and Maryvale Mill in the Latrobe Valley.

Fumio Manoshiro, chairman of Nippon Paper Industries, unveiled a special commemorative plaque.
Fumio Manoshiro, chairman of Nippon Paper Industries, unveiled a special commemorative plaque.

Fumio Manoshiro, chairman of Nippon Paper Industries, officially opened the Fibre Packaging facility by unveiling a special commemorative plaque made by the creative design team at Opal Specialty Packaging. Opal is a member of Nippon Paper Group, one of the world’s leading pulp and paper manufacturers.

The Victorian Government also provided grant funding for the project, to support jobs in regional Victoria.

Minister for Regional Development, Gayle Tierney, congratulated Opal on the opening of its new facility.

“Our support for Opal’s new $140 million investment in Wodonga is a huge vote of confidence for creating new jobs and doing business right here in regional Victoria,” Tierney said.
“We’re thrilled to extend our congratulations to Opal for the opening of its new world class site which firmly places Wodonga as a critical city for manufacturing, innovation and investment.”

Over 450 direct and indirect workers were involved in the construction and machinery installation, with the majority from the local region. Aligned with Opal’s commitment to support regional employment, the site promotes a flexible work model. Opal says this is its first site to implement this progressive way of working. The company says community word-of-mouth has played an important role in recruiting new team members, and the site is expected to support more than 400 direct and flow-on jobs.

Chris Daly, executive GM Packaging at Opal, welcomes guests.
Chris Daly, executive GM Packaging at Opal, welcomes guests.

Opal is focused on sustainable business practices and the site incorporates water harvesting; solar panels on solar panels on the facility’s vast roof; and a condensate recovery system, which recovers and reuses steam during the manufacturing process, and which will reduce the site’s reliance on gas.

Chris Daly, executive general manager, Packaging, said it was appropriate that Opal was officially opening its Fibre Packaging Wodonga site during National Recycling Week.

“Our customers and the market are driving demand for cardboard packaging with recycled content, which in turn can be recycled when it has been used.

“Opal’s Wodonga corrugating facility will be able to produce up to 720,000 square metres of high quality, Australian made cardboard packaging per day. That equates to approximately 100,000 tonnes of finished corrugated packaging a year.
“We are delighted to share the official opening of Opal Fibre Packaging Wodonga with a number of key customers, representing some of Australia’s most recognised and iconic brands,” Daly said.

Opal operates an integrated value chain in recyclable cardboard packaging. Wodonga was specifically selected based on its central location to the East Coast of Australia and will play a strategic role in servicing and growing Opal’s customer base

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