Thomas Foods International's decision to invest several hundred million dollars in Murray Bridge was "very easy", its chief executive officer says.
Twenty years after the family-owned company began processing meat in the district, Darren Thomas said its people were the reason TFI had chosen to rebuild locally after fire destroyed its factory last January.
"It was the easiest decision for us, our board and my family, to continue our relationship and investment here, in a place that's very near and dear to us," he said.
"To see ... where Murray Bridge has come from, particularly from '99, when Civic pulled out, and to see where it is today, it's like chalk and cheese.
"My father and I and our team could not have done what we have done without the support of the township and the support of surrounding communities."
While 17 months had passed before the company announced the rebuild, Mr Thomas said it was "extraordinary" that its insurance claim, one of the largest in recent Australian history, had been settled in just eight.
He declined to give a specific construction or opening date for the project - "I'd love to be able to tell you" - but said his company was working hard towards it, as were representatives at all levels of government.
"People who might still be working for us here, or the families that might have moved to Tamworth, people at Lobethal ... I know everyone's looking forward to the day when we cut the ribbon and everyone can come home," he said.
Mr Thomas featured among a star-studded lineup of speakers at the launch of the Murray Bridge council's Make It Yours campaign on Wednesday.
As well as kicking off a community engagement campaign which will shape the council's strategic plan for the next four years, the event launched a prospectus and video trailer intended to attract more investment to the district.
Other speakers included the Davery Establishment's David Phillips, Gifford Hill developer Kym Burke, Monarto Zoo visitor operations general manager Steve Callery, Mayor Brenton Lewis and state MP Adrian Pederick, who highlighted that $1 billion worth of local developments were already underway or had recently been completed.