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Multi-million dollar boost to Bundaberg manufacturers

Bundaberg manufacturers
Aletek, which produces heavy duty exhausts and other products for the mining sector, has received a $1.36 million grant to purchase four machines for the business and create or support 29 jobs.

Two local businesses will be able to support more than 80 local jobs as they significantly grow their operations on the back of a nearly $4 million announcement.

The State Government announced the funding today as part of the Made in Queensland (MiQ) Grants.

The funding will allow local manufacturers Aletek Operations and NewFresh Foods to purchase cutting edge machinery to improve and expand operations.

The funding announcement was made by Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher at NewFresh Foods in Alloway which received one of the two grants, valued at $1.91 million.

“We’ve had COVID, we’ve had floods, now it’s time to do what Queenslanders do best and get back to business,” Minister Butcher said.

“Manufacturing contributes $20 billion a year, to the Queensland economy and employees and we want to see that grow even further.

“These grants are giving smaller businesses an opportunity to really think big and make those major purchases that would otherwise be out of reach, and at the same time, benefit to the local economy through jobs growth and business growth.”

Minister Butcher was joined by Bundaberg MP Tom Smith to make the funding announcement.

“NewFresh Foods is an industry leader across the Bundaberg region, investing into future innovation and further job growth for locals in our community,” Mr Smith said.

“I’m proud to be part of the announcement of this nearly $2 million in funding which NewFresh Foods will use to add new product lines to its manufacturing and processing capabilities.

“Not only that, but this grant will allow NewFresh Foods to support a total of 52 jobs. This is an outstanding win for local industry and local jobs.”

NewFresh Foods Coordinator Finance & Technology Geoff Fisher said it was a thrilling opportunity for the Bundaberg business, which manufactures value-added plant-based products for the Australian food industry.

The business sells fresh produce to major supermarket retailers, but the exacting specifications means there is product rejected for aesthetic reasons, such as blemishes.

Previously, the business had limited opportunities for these products but the MiQ funding means NewFresh can purchase cutting edge machinery, to extract material from rejected crops and make them available for purchase.

“At the moment, Australian nutraceutical and functional food businesses import these plant extracts for their products.

“We know in Australia we grow superior food products and so if we can also extract the active ingredients, or the effective compounds, that these companies have identified as ingredients for their products, then all the better,” Mr Fisher said.

“This support is massive for our region, we are bringing high-tech manufacturing back into Queensland, creating skilled jobs away from the capital cities, and this will put us at the forefront of our industry.”

Another Bundy business receiving an MiQ boost is Aletek Operations, in Svensson Heights.

Aletek, which produces heavy duty exhausts and other products for the mining sector, has received a $1.36 million grant to purchase four machines for the business and create or support 29 jobs.

“Aletek employs more than 80 Bundaberg locals and services an international market,” Mr Smith said.

“That is why it is important that the Queensland Government does everything it can to support this business, as they continue to put their best foot forward on the global stage.”

Aletek Operations Manager Peter Churchill said the huge investment would help the business target opportunities in the global mining sectors, particularly in North America, Indonesia, and South America.

This investment will enable Aletek to purchase three state-of-the-art CNC manufacturing machines, plus a 3D laser scanner.

“These three machines represent world-leading technology and will give us a competitive edge as we further expand internationally, manufacturing from our regional Bundaberg facility.

“Right now, products manufactured here in regional Queensland face up to a 15-business-day turnaround for raw materials.

“These industry-leading machines will eliminate that delay, increasing our competitiveness in manufacturing both for Australia and overseas. In addition this investment will turbocharge Aletek’s factory floor capabilities and significantly improve our agility when meeting global customer expectations,” Mr Churchill said.

Since 2017, the $61.5 million Made in Queensland grant program has supported 84 advanced manufacturing projects, created or supported more than 1100 jobs and generated more than $100 million in private sector investment.

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