The Jobs and Regional Growth Fund is backing industry projects that are boosting regional economies and creating jobs. Since launching in February 2017, the fund has attracted applications from regional Queensland businesses looking to kick-start big-thinking projects. The fund has created hundreds of new jobs and is driving significant capital investment.
Read about some of the projects that have been successful.
Aquaworks is a key supplier in the bottled water industry with operations in Babinda, south of Cairns. With assistance from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, Aquaworks is undertaking a $5 million redevelopment of its Babinda Springs Mega Water Factory.
In addition to expanding the facility’s footprint, new state-of-the-art bottling equipment will be installed. Once operational, the expanded facility will support an additional 39 long-term jobs. The greater development program will eventually include a cellar-door shop front for passing tourism trade selling local gourmet produce.
Babinda is well-known for its high rainfall and the project will capitalise on the region’s most abundant natural resource – water. Aquaworks’ expansion program and the significant increase in production capacity will stimulate work and long-term economic opportunities in the region.
Australian Chocolate, located at Mission Beach in Far North Queensland, is undertaking an expansion project that will create 31 new jobs over the next four years. With assistance from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, the company will construct a new facility and purchase processing equipment.
The additional cocoa equipment will allow the company to offer processing services to other cocoa growers in the region. This growth will also see an increase in demand for other locally grown produce – pepper, vanilla, tropical fruit – which feature as part of the company’s product line. Australian Chocolate is now in the box seat to drive and expand the cocoa-growing industry in Far North Queensland.
Bio Processing Australia
In June 2017, the Queensland Government announced funding assistance under the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund to Bio Processing Australia (BPA) to support construction of an integrated biorefinery in Mackay.
The assistance agreement provides support for the construction and commissioning of a biorefinery project co-located and integrated with Mackay Sugar Limited’s Racecourse Mill. If the project proceeds, the facilities are proposed to include an oil-seed crushing plant, a biodiesel plant and a yeast manufacturing plant.
Cape York Timber
With assistance from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, Cape York Timber has secured a business loan unlocking its ability to expand its commercial timber mill operations in Cooktown.
Cape York Timber selectively and sustainably harvests hardwood from Indigenous and state-owned land from across Cape York. The support is enabling the business to expand its capacity producing high-quality Australian hardwood.
The social enterprise has now created an additional 5 jobs and provides valuable local Indigenous employment and training across its moulding and finishing, woodchip, and administrative operations. The assistance is helping Cape York Timber to realise its vision for growth and the continuation of creating sustainable employment opportunities in Cape York, especially for local Indigenous people.
Clermont Showgrounds and Saleyards Revitalisation
The Clermont Showgrounds and Saleyards precinct is undergoing a $1 million revitalisation. Works are being undertaken by Isaac Regional Council and are expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The project is being delivered in two phases with the first phase completing urgent electrical, water and IT upgrades. Additional site improvements made in the second half of 2019 year will be guided by a 20-year masterplan that is being developed to provide long-term security to both the showgrounds and saleyards.
The Clermont Show is one of Queensland’s oldest regional events which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2018, and the neighbouring saleyards is one of Queensland’s most significant trucking cattle centres.
Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation
The Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation in Camooweal is refining its spinifex harvesting operations and developing a pilot processing facility, thanks to support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
The project has initially created 11 Indigenous jobs. However, there may be opportunity to expand to commercial operations once the applications for spinifex are fully realised. Spinifex potentially has high-value applications in the latex, paper, plastics and rubber industries.
The traditional owners have collaborated for many years with The University of Queensland to help uncover the unique properties of spinifex that has in turn led to Australia’s most advanced nanocellulose technology.
The Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation hope the project’s success will allow it to act as a model that can be replicated across remote and regional areas enabling other Indigenous communities to benefit from the harvesting and processing of spinifex.
Gin Gin and Dry
Gin Gin and Dry, a gourmet dried foods business in the Wide Bay Burnett region, is expanding its processing and manufacturing capabilities in a project that will double its employees and inject
$5.1 million per year into the local economy.
The company uses innovative drying methods to preserve locally grown produce including mangoes, pineapples, semi-dried tomatoes, apples and ginger. The Australian dried fruit sector is worth $88 million a year and this $2.2 million expansion project will enable Gin Gin and Dry to increase current annual production from 27 tonnes to 80-100 tonnes.
The Wide Bay Burnett region is continuing to diversify its traditional manufacturing and food production and processing industries, and this project is a great example of a small company developing niche markets for innovative produce that has domestic and international appeal.
Hawker Pacific is an aviation firm with hangar facilities at Cairns Airport. Through Jobs and Regional Growth Fund assistance, Hawker Pacific is contributing to the growth of the aviation sector in Cairns with the completion of its $4.5 million hanger expansion.
By increasing its hangar facilities by 50%, Hawker Pacific is able to better compete for heavy maintenance work, particularly on turboprop and jet-powered commercial aircraft from around Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Pacific nations. This is work that may otherwise have gone to Asia or Europe.
The fund ensured that Hawker Pacific has the ability to secure that work here in Queensland.
Already a significant employer in Cairns, Hawker Pacific has created an additional 39 highly skilled jobs, including a significant number of local apprenticeships, well before September 2021.
Many of the new operational staff will be graduates of the Cairns Aviation Skills Centre that is training the future workforce of the region’s booming aviation sector.
Maryborough’s iconic supplier to the Australian building industry, Hyne Timber, is establishing a new advanced manufacturing timber factory with support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
Hyne Timber is set to become one of the largest glue laminated timber manufacturers in the Southern Hemisphere allowing the company to expand their product offering to target larger scale, national construction projects.
The new facility will focus on large-scale production of glue laminated timber that has applications to replace steel in major commercial and infrastructure projects. Hyne Timber is already a major employer in the Wide Bay Burnett region with more than 300 local staff, and the new facility, once operational, will create an additional 42 new jobs. Hyne’s continued growth represents a long-term economic boost for the region.
A feasibility study is being undertaken for Imperium 3 on the possible development of a $2 billion lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Townsville. Imperium 3 is an international joint venture led by Boston Energy and Innovation, Magnis Resources and Charge CCCV LLC. The feasibility study is necessary to attract the next stage of funding and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Battery storage solutions are fundamental to making renewable energy reliable, and Imperium 3’s project would be supplying into a rapidly expanding market. This may further develop Queensland’s advanced manufacturing capabilities in the renewable energy market. If the project proceeds it would be a vital job creator in Townsville generating over 1000 high skilled jobs at the manufacturing facility and throughout the supply chain.
JBS, one of Australia’s largest meat processors and exporters, has created a targeted employment program to hire displaced meat workers affected by the closures of other meat processing facilities in Queensland.
JBS, who already employs over 5,500 people in its Queensland operations, has offered employment to displaced meat workers from the Ipswich region thanks to assistance from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
Jimbour Beef and Bacon
Jimbour Beef and Bacon, based on the Western Darling Downs north of Dalby, will expand its existing business with a new meatworks facility that will boost annual production capacity from 3,000 to 20,000 tonnes.
The successful abattoir and meat wholesale business has been operating at capacity for over a decade.
Funding from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund will help this family-owned business respond to sustained growth in the Australian pork industry and allow it to tap into new export markets.
The $8.5 million three-stage development will support around 30 constructions jobs, and once fully operational in three to four years, will more than triple the facility’s existing workforce with the addition of 35 full-time jobs.
The new facility will be built and licensed to international standards and export specifications, enabling supply to both domestic and overseas markets. Having a second export accredited pork processing facility in Queensland will provide significant value to our pork industry and increase business confidence.
With support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, Laminex has reopened the Carter Holt Harvey timber processing facility in Gympie, after it was announced earlier this year that the facility would be closed.
Laminex has immediately employed approximately 42 former Carter Holt Harvey employees. The Gympie Monkland manufacturing plant will continue to process timber and will produce particleboard flooring to meet growing market demand.
Securing new investment in this timber manufacturing facility is a great example of the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund supporting jobs for regional Queenslanders.
Mackay Resource Centre of Excellence
The $3.6 million Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence will be a new training and research facility to support the region’s rebounding mining industry. Supported by the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, the facility is delivering on the government’s commitment to increase opportunities for apprentices and drive research and innovation in this sector.
The facility will feature a simulated underground coal mine providing close to real conditions. This controlled environment will greatly assist with accelerated training, product innovation and demonstrations, and may even prove to be a tourism drawcard.
The facility is being delivered by Mackay Regional Council in partnership with the Resource Industry Network, with operational involvement from tertiary education providers.
With support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, Mercurius is developing a pilot biorefinery in Gladstone that will be the trial site for jet fuel and diesel production from agricultural and forestry waste.
The US company was attracted to Australia through the Queensland Government’s Biofutures Acceleration Program in 2017 and completed the scientific validation of its biotechnology in 2018 at QUT.
To be co-located at the Northern Oil Refinery, the pilot biorefinery is scheduled to commence construction in late 2019. The facility will be operational for three months and will provide work for around 30 people.
If the pilot plant is successful, Mercurius may progress to construction of a demonstration plant. Combined, the pilot and demonstration projects would require an investment value of $11 million and are estimated to support 50 jobs in regional Queensland. Based on performance of the pilot and demonstration projects, the company may build advanced biorefinery projects across other regional Queensland areas.
Mort & Co
Mort & Co’s operations at Grassdale, west of Toowoomba, is set to become Australia’s most significant cattle feedlot with a job-creating and innovative $35 million expansion project.
Supported by the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, the expansion will increase the throughput of the feedlot by an additional 80,000 cattle per year. The project also includes the installation of a gas-fired power station and the construction of an innovative, fertiliser manufacturing facility.
The project will create 34 new long-term operational jobs. Additionally, downstream meat producers have indicated around 115 full-time jobs will be created at regional abattoirs.
Mungalli Creek Dairy, at Millaa Millaa on the southern Atherton Tablelands, is building a new milk processing facility that will create 25 new operational jobs. The new $3 million facility will accommodate milk processing, yoghurt and cheese production, will feature cold rooms and packing areas.
Established in 2000 and one of the largest employers in Millaa Millaa with more than 60 employees, Mungalli Creek Dairy is one of two certified biodynamic dairy farms in Australia. With growing demand for biodynamic dairy products, the facility’s modern and efficient equipment will increase productivity and will allow the business to grow market share and become export compliant.
Rheinmetall Nioa Munitions
A $60 million shell forging plant to be developed by the newly formed joint venture, Rheinmetall Nioa Munitions, will create up to 100 full-time jobs in Maryborough when it becomes operational in 2022.
The shell forging plant will be one-of-a-kind in Australia and will not only add to the country’s sovereign military capabilities but will bring significant investment and long-term economic benefits to Maryborough.
Jobs created through this project will offer training opportunities, will create highly skilled career prospects and will provide long-term, stable incomes in a regional community. This is a great example of the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund supporting a project that aligns with the Queensland Government’s priorities for economic growth and its industry roadmaps supporting the advanced manufacturing and defence industries.
Sunshine Coast International Submarine Cable project
Support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund is assisting the Sunshine Coast Council in delivering the first, direct landing into Queensland of a new international submarine internet cable.
RTI Connectivity will lay a 550-kilometre undersea fibre optic, branch cable from the new 9600-kilometre Japan-Guam-Australia South submarine cable. The branch cable will land at Maroochydore and provide speed, reliability and capacity improvements to the whole state.
The Sunshine Coast Council is the first local government in Australia to secure a communications project of this nature and it will be a great incentive in attracting new business and industry, particularly organisations with big data requirements. High-capacity data connectivity straight into the economic powerhouses in Asia will be a massive stimulus for the local and wider Queensland economies, creating jobs and encouraging investment well into the future.
Swickers Bacon Factory and SunPork Commercial Piggeries
Despite having its facilities ravaged by fire in late 2016, Swickers kept its eye firmly on the future, taking the opportunity to not only rebuild its existing operations, but to capitalise on changing markets and growth opportunities.
Assistance from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund is supporting a $103.5 million expansion of the Swickers Bacon Factory at Kingaroy and the SunPork Commercial Piggeries near Warra. Currently, as Queensland’s only export-accredited pork abattoir, the expansion will increase supply and double processing capabilities.
Swickers has now completed the expansion of the bacon factory at Kingaroy with a capital investment of $64 million. The expansion has enabled Swickers to implement the latest technology and innovation, making the facility the most advanced in Australia and one of the best in the world. The Swickers facility will stimulate the long-term growth of the state’s pork industry for at least the next 30 years.
The expansion has helped push employment numbers at the Kingaroy facility past the 800 mark with more new jobs created than originally expected. As one of the South Burnett’s largest employers, Swickers is a vital economic element of this regional community.