The sale of Australia's largest dairy farm, Van Diemen's Land Company (VDL), to Chinese businessman Lu Xianfeng has received final clearance, and Lu unveiled on Friday his grand plans for the business.
VDL, situated in the northwest of Tasmania, has now been officially turned over to Lu's Moon Lake Investments company for 215 million U.S. dollars.
Lu, who made his fortune in China's seafood industry, said he had big plans for VDL's future.
"From my first visit to the region, I could see its unique attributes, and since that time, have been keen to do what I can to further develop the potential of the VDL assets," he said in a statement on Friday.
"I would particularly like to thank all those who have supported me over this period, which is the start of what I hope to be a long and fruitful relationship."
The Tasmanian company, which has never been Australian owned since being established on a land grant by New Zealand's New Plymouth District Council 190 years ago, was subjected to a fierce bidding process last year.
Lu's deep financial resources eventually saw him stave off bids from two rival Australian companies to secure VDL's 13 farms, 19,000 hectares and 18,000 milking cows.
As part of the deal, Lu not only has promised to keep the company's 140 existing staff and honor all current milk contracts, but also plans to expand its workforce and entire operation.
This will involve Lu adding at least 95 new jobs and investing more than 75 million U.S. dollars in developing VDL farm's currently only used as breeding grounds for heifers.
The Foreign Investment Review Board, which assessed the sale, also approved Lu's proposal to clear another 1,800 hectares of native vegetation for farm land.
The region's mayor, Daryl Quilliam, said he expected the number of jobs created under the expansion to be more like 200, a figure that would totally revitalize the local economy.
"I'm being told there's going to be eight or nine dairies and each dairy would employ around six or seven families, and so it's not only just single people," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday.
"Some of these are going to be family people, so that could be up to 20 to 30 people down there on each farm.
"It's not only the jobs, it's going to be our business people, who have been struggling a little bit in Smithton as well, so it's going to mean there's going to be more business for them."