Laminex announces huge jobs boost for Gympie region
LAMINEX has announced a major jobs boost for the Gympie region, with its Monkland facility to double its original size once it rolls out a fourth shift by January next year.
The company revealed this week that its Monkland particleboard production facility will "move from a three-shift to four-shift operation as of January 2021", less than two years since taking ownership of the plant last April.
A fourth shift will see the plant employ 80 people, up from the 41 it started with after taking over from previous owner Carter Holt Harvey, which closed the site in early 2019.
Laminex Australia's Manufacturing Operations Manager for Queensland Scott Beckett said through a statement that strong market demand had led to the accelerated expansion.
"We'd hoped to be able to support a three-shift operation by the end of the first year, but the response from the market was so great that we had to start recruiting again after only a couple of months," Mr Beckett said.
"We're also restarting an apprenticeship program for fitters and electricians, and the plant is supporting many spin-off jobs with other local businesses and contractors.
"At a time when youth unemployment in the area is close to 20 per cent, it's great news for the local community."
The Laminex statement said "strong customer demand, a series of investments from Laminex and support from state and local government" were key players in seeing growth "well beyond initial expectations".
A third shift at the Monkland plant was mobilised in October last year.
The company has committed $2 million in upgrading the plant's infrastructure through improvements to roads and buildings, as well as installing new equipment "for greater efficiency".
The State Government has contributed $100,000 via a co-funded grant, also delivering a $559,000 grant for a study into power cogeneration at Laminex's nearby Toolara facility.
Mr Beckett credited Gympie Mayor Mick Curran and site owner Corbet's Group as being closely involved in Laminex's acquisition of the Monkland plant.
"Between local government, state government, Corbet's and Laminex, we collectively made a commitment to this plant and, as a result, we'll have 80 people working here in what would have been an empty factory," he said.
State Development and Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said in February Laminex's Toolara facility would receive $559,000 to conduct a feasibility study for an energy cogeneration plant at its Gympie region fibreboard manufacturing facilities.