Jobs and Regional Growth Fund success stories
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.
Allweld, a Maryborough-based truck and transport fabricator, is expanding its premises and diversifying into new markets thanks to support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
Allweld design and manufacture a range of customised transporters including prime movers, tippers and trailers as well as fire, rescue and ambulance vehicles and marine craft. The project will enable Allweld to continue to innovate and target new markets including defence and aerospace.
The family-owned company will increase its existing workforce by more than 40 per cent over four years with 12 new full-time jobs to be created by 2024, including four apprenticeships.
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.
Australian Mines’ Sconi Project is a proposed cobalt and nickel mine to be located near Greenvale, about 250 kilometres west of Townsville.
The $1.5 billion project would support an estimated 500 jobs over a two-year construction period and create 289 long-term positions once fully operational.
Cobalt and nickel are key minerals used in the production of lithium-ion batteries, the power plants at the heart of electric vehicles.
Subject to the securing of offtake agreements and a final investment decision, Australian Mines anticipates that the Sconi Project mine could commence operations in 2023.
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.
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 2020.
The project is being delivered in two phases with the first phase completing urgent electrical, water and IT upgrades. Additional site improvements 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.
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.
Roma-based livestock producer and meat processor Elliott Agribusiness is undertaking an $800,000 expansion of its meat processing plant.
Support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund is helping to accelerate the project that will see the construction of a secondary processing area with additional chiller and storage space. With the resurgence in the lamb industry, the additional capacity will allow the company to process more product for its customer base of high-quality boutique butchers in South East and South West Queensland as well as increase it contract processing for local livestock producers.
The project will enable the family-owned enterprise to create an extra 12 jobs over three years to 2023, more than doubling its existing workforce.
Gin Gin and Dry, a gourmet dried foods business in the Wide Bay Burnett region, has expanded 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.
Based in Bundaberg, Grillex designs and manufactures a wide variety of commercial outdoor community infrastructure including electric barbeques, street and park furniture and shelters.
With support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, the company is accelerating by two years the construction of a new $3 million facility that will help them meet growing demand in both domestic and international markets.
The facility will include a 2680 square metre warehouse and office complex featuring the latest in manufacturing technologies on the assembly line, boosting Grillex’s global competitiveness. When fully operational, the facility will support 15 new jobs.
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.
HeliMods, a Caloundra-based aerospace company, will undergo a significant state-of-the-art expansion at its advanced manufacturing and aircraft modification facility.
The $10.3 million expansion project will enable the company to increase its capacity for civil contracts and to scale-up into high-value aerospace and defence contracts.
Up to 68 new jobs will be created at HeliMods including a range of engineering roles, IT and software development and commercial and support positions.
Support from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund is assisting the company to accelerate the expansion project by five years.
n mid-2020, Maryborough’s iconic supplier to the Australian building industry, Hyne Timber, completed construction on its $23 million glue laminated timber plant.
The new advanced manufacturing timber facility will support the creation of more than 40 new long-term jobs and focus on the large-scale production of glue laminated timber.
Local production of engineered timber is a growing market in Australia and is a natural extension of Hyne’s extensive experience in the timber business. The product has applications in the residential and mass timber construction markets and is sustainable, cost effective, high strength and aesthetically pleasing.
A feasibility study has been completed by Imperium 3 on the possible development of a $3 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 development of the feasibility study will allow Imperium3 to further progress the project and secure investment partners and development approval from Townsville City Council. Imperium3 are aiming to start construction by 2022.
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 create significant jobs in Townsville 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, 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.
John Dee’s meat processing facility at Warwick and beef feedlot at Inglewood are undergoing a $16.7 million expansion that will transform the company into one of Queensland’s leading processors of premium beef. John Dee is a fourth-generation, 100 per cent family-owned business, and the oldest single-family owned meat processor in Australia.
The expansion will accommodate a 40 per cent increase in processing capacity that equates to an additional 1000 head of cattle per week. The company will incorporate the new technology required to sustainably increase its premium beef export market share and support an extra 155 new long-term jobs.
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 in early 2019 that the facility would be closed.
Laminex has employed 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.
The $7 million Mackay Resources Centre of Excellence, delivered in partnership with Mackay Regional Council, was completed and opened in mid-2020.
Mackay is one of Queensland’s major resource industry support hubs and the centre will leverage off existing local expertise and further advance the state’s vision for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. The world-class centre will drive research and innovation, increase export opportunities and provide safer and more accelerated training options for students and apprentices.
The facility features an Underground Simulator Mining Facility, control room, workshop, laboratory and classrooms. The coal mine simulator spans more than 6800 square metres and replicates the physical conditions of working underground. This ‘living lab’ environment provides a wide range of capabilities across training and education; product research and development, demonstration and filming; and enables new emergency response procedures to be tested and improved.
Close-to-real conditions provides a controlled environment that greatly assists with product innovation and demonstrations.
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’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, has completed construction on a new milk processing facility that is set to create 24 new operational jobs. The new $3 million facility accommodates milk processing, yoghurt and cheese production, and features 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.
Oreco Group, an Australian-owned horticultural and garden products business will invest $20.8 million into expanding its production facilities in Childers, near Bundaberg. The project will accelerate the delivery of the project by three years and will allow the rapidly growing business to double production, introduce new product lines and increase its logistics capability.
The phased development will commence with a new manufacturing hub that will allow Oreco to diversify its product offerings with additional mulches, fertilisers, and animal feeds and bedding.
The company’s expansion will create 140 new jobs for the region including machinery operators and drivers, technicians and trade workers, clerical and administration workers.
Qualipac is a family-owned, horticultural business with vegetable growing operations across the Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs. The development of a Produce Service Centre at Inglewood near Goondiwindi valued at $1.2 million will help meet growing demand for fresh produce in both domestic and export markets.
Qualipac’s new centre will provide the facilities and services to turn fresh produce grown in the area into retail-ready products and will be well-served by its proximity to the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
A regionally-significant 21 new jobs will be created in the first three years. Qualipac currently supports employment for over 120 workers
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.
Signature OnFarm, part of the Angus Pastoral Company, is establishing its own on-farm boutique abattoir at its Sondella station, 125 km north-west of Moranbah.
The state-of-the-art, small-scale facility will be export accredited and will be capable of servicing up to 200 head of cattle a day when fully operational. Locating the abattoir just 500 metres from the feedlot will improve animal welfare and result in a superior finished product.
The facility will create more than 80 new jobs and as the property is reasonably remote, the project will also include the construction of an on-farm workers village.
The $35 million Sunshine Coast International Broadband Network project was jointly funded by the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund and Sunshine Coast Council.
The project delivered the first, direct landing into Queensland of a new international fibre optic submarine cable and provides Australia’s fastest data and telecommunications transmission speeds to Asia and the second fastest to the USA.
RTI Connectivity laid a 550-kilometre undersea branch cable from the new 9700-kilometre Japan-Guam-Australia South submarine cable. The branch cable connects to the network at a purpose-built landing station in Maroochydore. The landing station has been built with the capacity to accommodate up to four submarine cables, futureproofing that will ensure additional cables can be connected quickly and efficiently.
The project 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.
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.
Last updated: Tuesday, Feb 18, 2020