BREAKING: 42 Gympie jobs saved as major facility reopens
WORKERS have returned to the former Carter Holt Harvey timber processing facility to begin manufacturing again following an agreement between the State Government and Laminex Australia through the $150 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the State Government had worked with Corbet's and Laminex to reopen thetimber processing facility after its owners announced its closure in February.
"We understand how important jobs are to regional Queensland and particularly in areas like Gympie,” Mr Dick said. "That's why we worked hard to facilitate the reopening of this important facility and ensure 42 locals could stay in work.
"Laminex has so far employed around 42 former Carter Holt Harvey employees, who started induction last week. I am very impressed with the spirit of cooperation from all stakeholders and the collaboration between government and industry through Queensland Rail, Gympie Regional Council, Corbet's and Laminex to help generate a positive outcome for employees.”
Laminex Australia said the partnership, which sees it assume control of Carter Holt Harvey, would enable expansion of its south east Queensland manufacturing operations.
A member of the Fletcher Building Group, Laminex Australia will lease the manufacturing site from the Corbet family, which has taken ownership of the facility and adjacent land.
Both business decisions will achieve the benefit of ongoing sustainable land use, a continuation of timber processing in Gympie and save dozens of regional manufacturing jobs at the site.
Laminex's Gympie Monkland Manufacturing Plant, which is now operational, will conduct continuous timber processing, producing particleboard flooring to specifically support growing demand in Queensland and other markets.
The company has offered 42 positions, many of which were former Carter Holt Harvey employees and contractors at the site, and the ready-to-go workforce has been inducted into Laminex's operations.
Laminex Australia will undertake new regional manufacturing activity and with support through the Queensland Government's Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, will maintain dozens of direct jobs that would have been lost.
Laminex Australia Executive General Manager Justin Burgess welcomed the support provided by the State Development Department.
He said Gympie Monkland, its sixth Australian manufacturing site, would operate alongside Laminex's Toolara plant, which processes medium density fibreboards. Both sites had a combined workforce of up to 300 people, making Laminex Australia a top three employer across the Gympie, Wide Bay and Burnett.
"Today is a great step forward for the Gympie region and an exciting leap for the Laminex team,” Mr Burgess said.
"It also importantly delivers a future expanded manufacturing footprint for us in south east Queensland and is a catalyst to pursue synergies and drive future growth.
"Manufacturing today is a top two industry in the greater Gympie region and we view our decision to take over operating the previous Carter Holt Harvey site, with its skilled local workforce and the ready-made distribution channels, as a strategically sound decision.
"The facts are Australian manufacturers can prosper and partner in growth with the right approach, operational know-how and backing. We continue to invest in manufacturing in Australia and we will work together across our Gympie Toolara and now Gympie Monkland sites to identify growth in sustainable, efficient and safe production outcomes.
"Our decision around Gympie is also customer led, for our local clientele want quality, Australian-made products at their doorstep to meet market demand. We're excited around the unique opportunity presented in Gympie to increase production, support a community and work with local stakeholders in a region dedicated to sustainable manufacturing. Laminex Australia acknowledges the foresight of the Corbet family, QR, Gympie Regional Council and the Qld Govt for working collaboratively with us to make ongoing timber processing activity at the Gympie Monkland site a reality.”