Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has opened a $165 million expansion of its bottling and warehouse facility at Richlands, making the Brisbane facility the company’s largest Australian manufacturing plant.

CCA’s Richlands plant is now capable of producing more than 90 million unit cases of drinks each year, and will be the exclusive Australian bottling and distribution centre for Coke’s signature ‘contour’ glass bottles.

The expanded facility also includes a state-of-the-art 30,000m2 distribution centre, which will supply beverages to both domestic and export customers.

CCA announced the decision to upgrade its Richlands plant in February last year, on the same day it revealed that it would close its 57-year-old plant at Thebarton in South Australia.

CCA Group Managing Director Alison Watkins said the company had chosen to consolidate operations at the Richlands site after a strategic review of its Australian facilities.

‘This site is the product of a nationwide search for the best possible location to grow our business,’ Ms Watkins said.

‘Of all the sites we looked at, Richlands offered the strongest combination of road and port access, efficiency in production, access to east-coast markets and room to grow.

‘We also had great engagement with the Queensland Government, which was keen to support manufacturing investment and jobs.’

Speaking at the official opening of the Richlands facility on 2 October, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland offered manufacturers clear advantages over other Australian locations.

‘Queensland has gained an international reputation as a great place to do business, which is why Coca-Cola Amatil has developed this $165 million vote of confidence in Queensland,’ she said.

‘Queensland has low operating costs, a skilled and adaptable workforce, the lowest payroll tax in the nation, generous research and development incentives, excellent transport infrastructure close to Asia and other export links, and a dynamic and stable economy which is expected to reach 3% growth this financial year.

‘Coca-Cola Amatil is a major employer in Brisbane, with 600 operational jobs here at the Richlands site and 150 jobs created during construction of the new facility.’

The new plant will produce an extensive range of sparkling and still beverages, juices, teas, alcohol and other drinks, including all of Australia’s Barista Brothers dairy drinks, and will continue to export Barista Brothers and Powerade to New Zealand.

Advanced manufacturing is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, which also includes a commitment to attracting international investment to Queensland.