Rural jobs to grow in Bundaberg
MORE than 600 jobs will be created in regional Queensland after the state government allocated more $3.14 million in Rural Economic Development grants to 15 rural businesses.
Businesses from the Lockyer Valley, Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Goondiwindi, Bundaberg, Cassowary Coast, Cairns, Mareeba and the Tablelands have received up to $250,000 in co-contribution grants to purchase innovative equipment and build new infrastructure to create jobs and expand agricultural supply chains.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the latest round of RED Grant funding would provide a timely economic boost and help to build industry, support rural communities and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector.
“Creating jobs is at the heart of Queensland’s $8 billion plan for economic recovery, and the job supported by these grants will be a real shot in the arm to these communities,” he said.
“A wide range of fruit and vegetable processing and packaging facilities, a regional meatworks, nurseries and a bio manufacturing facility were among the successful businesses funded in this round.
“Some businesses will expand infrastructure to increase productivity, sustainability and energy efficiency, or improve post-harvest handling and new processing capability or develop new and more water efficient systems of farming in their industries.
“All the projects will create new jobs for regional Queensland. In total 251 direct full-time jobs will be created, another 90 during construction and 346 indirect full-time positions will need to be filled to make these projects come to life.”
Support by the grant, Farmfresh at Alloway will support more than 220 direct and indirect jobs with a major expansion, including installation of new cutting, forming, battering, crumbing and frying production lines.
Macadamias Australia will install and commission a macadamia processing line to produce packaged flavoured kernel products for a wide range of markets, creating 76 direct and indirect jobs.
New Fresh Farms will install three new machines and associated pre-fill and post-packing equipment items to create new, high quality 100 per cent Australian grown and made products with support from the grant.
Chief financial officer Ian Gaflel said these products will feature a higher per cent of fresh content than the industry currently provides.
He said overall production is expected to increase by 20 per cent, creating 18 direct and indirect jobs.
On the menu are chilli, herb and avocado mash for restaurant, supermarket and food service customers.
“We’re always looking to take advantage of market opportunities which add to our existing supply chain of chilli and avocado products. This project adds value for our restaurant clients and consumers who purchase from supermarkets and allow us to use produce which is not suitable for the fresh retail trade,” Mr Gaffel said.
“We have a passion for innovation and experience in food production and engineering. These features, combined with state-of-the-art business management systems and unique processing, delivers fresh chilli varieties to consumers around Australia, and vegetable, herb and chilli products to clients nationally and internationally.
“The new product range is produced and manufactured in the Bundaberg region to supply fresh ingredients with extended shelf life. This has revolutionised the way manufacturers can take advantage of convenience and consistency in the ever-growing market.
“The new innovated lines create efficiencies and therefore products which are more cost competitive against imported products. The food services industry is a very big market, and this is a great opportunity to generate significant local jobs.”
Mr Gaffel said the project would increase revenue for regional farmers and significantly reduce waste as the ingredients would come from second-grade produce.
“We intend to chop up this process-grade fresh produce and use it for supermarket retail sales and food service to the restaurant trade,” he said.
“New Fresh Farms has designed a range of products which are cleaner and healthier than anything else on the market. Most importantly, Australian grown produce helps us to utilise excess streams of the region’s farming businesses and allows growers to enter the value chain.”
For more information about the RED Grant scheme visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au/redgrants