Treasurer goes nuts for Bundy macadamias

"OVER there is where we size it, then we crack it, stream it, we suck the shell off ... and sort the kernels from the shells."

Today the State Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, got a look behind the scenes at our fastest-growing commodity.


Shane Johnson (right) with Leanne Donaldson and Curtis Pitt at Pacific Gold Macadamias.
Shane Johnson (right) with Leanne Donaldson and Curtis Pitt at Pacific Gold Macadamias. Eliza Goetze

Mr Pitt and Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson toured Pacific Gold Macadamias with general manager Shane Johnson, who painted a picture of the processing plant's struggle to keep up with domestic and international demand.

"Last year we had 1000 tonnes stored off site because we didn't have room," Mr Johnson told the treasurer.

"There is so much demand we simply can't keep up with the volumes required."


Sorting nuts at Pacific Gold Macadamias.
Sorting nuts at Pacific Gold Macadamias. Eliza Goetze

To remedy that fortuitous problem Pacific Gold has installed a new $2 million drying building which holds 900 tonnes of the nuts, and created four new supervisor positions.

"It more than doubles our drying capacity from last season and also gives us about 3000 tonnes storage capacity," Mr Johnson said.

The treasurer was full of praise for the plant as an example of Queensland's export success.


"Macadamia nuts are a very exciting product because we're seeing pick-up around the globe," Mr Pitt said.

"In my discussions with Shane today about the positive results they've seen, over the last year particularly, there is room for even more investment - which is great because it will mean more opportunities for local work both in terms of construction and more work in the plant itself."


Shane Johnson, Curtis Pitt and Leanne Donaldson at Pacific Gold Macadamias.
Shane Johnson, Curtis Pitt and Leanne Donaldson at Pacific Gold Macadamias. Eliza Goetze

Mr Johnson said China was the biggest market, taking 50% of their nuts.

"Last year we processed in excess of 10,000 tonnes of macadamias, worth around $57 million at farm gate," he said.

The plant on Rosedale Rd is "one of the most efficient in Australia", he told the treasurer.

It runs 24 hours a day and employs 140 staff but much of the processing is automated.

"Nothing is thrown away: the shell is sold and burnt for fuel, and all the fines (lower grade nuts that are finely ground) are pressed for table oil or cosmetic oil.

"We value-add by roasting and putting it in packets."


Macadamias being processed at the Pacific Gold Macadamia plant.
Macadamias being processed at the Pacific Gold Macadamia plant. Eliza Goetze

In 2016 Queensland generated more than $52 billion worth of exports, Mr Pitt said.

"If we can continue to work those markets as hard as we are right now, with our reputation for clean, green products and attention to detail including food safety, we're going to continue to see terrific results overseas."

Last year Bundaberg produced the largest share of the nation's macadamia crop and is now known as the biggest macadamia growing region in the country.

"Around 75 per cent of the macadamias processed by Pacific Gold is exported to China, South East Asia, Japan, Europe and the United States and thanks to the Free Trade Agreements there is more demand than ever from these markets," Mr Pitt said.

This season is expected to bring record returns to the industry as Queensland's production of macadamia is expected to be worth $140 million in 2016-17 - 17% higher than the final estimate for 2015-16 and almost double the average for the past five years.

"The main thing about the Bundaberg region is we've got the available water that gives quality and quantity and keeps the trees going in the dry," Mr Johnson said.

"A lot of other areas in Australia don't have irrigation.

"That's probably why a lot of Asian buyers are coming in and buying up farms because they've got the security of the water."


Pacific Gold Macadamias general manager Shane Johnson.
Pacific Gold Macadamias general manager Shane Johnson. Eliza Goetze

Pacific Gold's Wishlist

WITH the region in the midst of a macadamia boom, Pacific Gold Macadamias general manager Shane Johnson took the Treasurer's visit as an opportunity to mention his wishlist to make the local industry more competitive.

He wants the State Government to again allow commercial rail freight from Bundaberg.

"I have to get a container up from Brisbane on a semi-

trailer, load it up here, and send it back to Brisbane," he explained.

"Sometimes we fill four to five a day.

"For my competitors in northern NSW it costs them half as much, because they're closer.

"Seven or eight years ago, we had a small factory at Winfield and we'd bring containers to Bundaberg and put them on the rail.

"Now, it's much more costly to do it."

The other major concern at the plant is electricity, he said.

"Our bill is huge. We're at our limit.

"I'm looking at solar."

Topics:  agriculture curtis pitt macadamias nuts pacific gold macadamias

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

YOU may not associate Brisbane with a burgeoning art scene, but you’d be mistaken.

Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

The Gresham's charm will win you over before your first sip.

THESE are the perfect places to hang this winter.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Balaclava-clad home invasion haunts mother

TERRIFIED: A mum has been left traumatised after nine intruders entered her home wielding weapons.

18-year-old last week pleaded guilty before a judge in Court

Woman flown to Brisbane after crash is still fighting

CRASH: Emergency service crews at the scene of a two-vehicle crash.

She sustained serious head injuries

Auswide bank wins award

Auswide Bank Bundaberg.

Loan gong for Bundaberg bank

Local Partners

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

The fact is Stefanovic is paid extremely well by a television network that lives and dies by ratings.

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Big Pineapple festival safety concerns as 100s walk home

LONG WALK HOME: Many festival goers opted to take a dangerous walk home due to transport difficulty following the Big Pineapple Festival in Woombye on Saturday.

Big Pineapple festival-goers have braved dangerous walks home

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!