Friday, 30 July 2021

Cracking new expansion open for business

A multi-million-dollar expansion at Macadamia’s Australia has cracked open more opportunities to export the popular nut and given a boost to local employment.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt officially opened the new $25 million cracking facility in Bundaberg today and congratulated the Steinhardt family on its continued investment in the region.

“This 8600m2 facility includes new specialised macadamia processing machinery for receival, drying, cracking and value-adding and a tourism facility to provide an educational experience for visitors,” Mr Pitt said.

“Bundaberg is the largest macadamia growing region in Australia producing over 20,000 tonnes annually with local production set to increase to 35,000 tonne in the next 10 years based on today’s plantings.

“This project will provide an outlet for over 9,000 tonne of nut annually for cracking and value adding and will enable Macadamia’s Australia to create a range of innovative products for both its domestic and overseas markets.

“As well as the 29 jobs during construction, an additional 93 ongoing jobs have been created with this expansion, which is a fantastic outcome for local employment opportunities.

Macadamia’s Australia Director Janelle Gerry said the family could see that there was going to be a shortage of cracking facilities in the region so this project not only secures their future but that of many growers in the region. 

“The family are looking forward to partnering with like-minded growers to create single origin quality macadamia products for the world,” she said.

A family business growing produce in the Bundaberg region for more than 60 years, the Steinhardt family started out growing peanuts, corn, tobacco, sugar cane and a variety of vegetables.

In 1980, they moved into large scale production of tomatoes and zucchinis and in 2004 they planted macadamias and have more than 220,000 trees and will harvest around 3,000 tonnes of nut-in-shell each year.

The business has established long term export markets in over 15 countries for bulk kernel and retail products including Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Middle East, Vietnam and Korea.

The value-added range of retail products is now on the shelves in many Asian countries as well as domestically and on-line. A focus on research and development will see the business develop new and innovative value-added products in the coming years.

The Australian Government provided $4.68 million towards the $25 million project from the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Jobs and Investment Package (RJIP).

Other projects funded through RJIP in the Hinkler electorate were the Isis Central Sugar Mill railway extension, value-adding facility at Austchilli, Costas Avocados at Childers new packing facility and an expansion at Consolidated Linen in Hervey Bay.

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