From chillies and capsicums to cabbages and cucumbers, Wallaroo Produce Supplies in Severnley will soon be feeding more mouths thanks to funding from the Queensland Government’s Rural Economic Development (RED) grant scheme.
Agriculture and Fisheries Development Minister Mark Ferner said growing Queensland produce suppliers alongside demand was critical to ensuring long-term sustainability and good jobs across the industry.
“The Southern Downs is home to some of the best crops in Australia,” Ferner said. “The more summer vegetables we can produce and consume on our land, the better.” That’s why projects like this to increase capacity and increase efficiency through infrastructure upgrades are so important. This expansion will benefit not only the industry but the entire Southern Downs community through the creation of local jobs.”
Wallaroo Produce Supplies will use the funding to expand its produce storage and packaging facilities, automate processes and install dedicated cold storage.
“We are delighted to share our more than 45 years of experience in the horticulture industry as we expand our business,” said Wallaroo Produce Supplies managing director John Patton.
“The expansion will create 12 direct full-time jobs and employ even more during the construction phase. Many of these current jobs will be long-term, skilled positions that we hope to be able to fill in our community to boost the local economy.”
Patane said that thanks to the modernization of the infrastructure of warehouses and packaging lines, the company will be able to pack its own broccoli for the first time.
“Being able to store different vegetables at different temperatures means we can produce more and do everything on the farm,” he said. “The installation of the cold room will immediately allow us to approximately double our production capacity.”
Wallaroo Produce Supplies is one of 16 businesses approved in the fourth round of the RED Grants program, with funding totaling just over $3 million. In total, these 16 projects are expected to create more than 217 direct long-term jobs in regional Queensland.
The first three rounds of the RED Grants Program provided $10 million in funding over three years to support more than 30 projects that have created 1,800 jobs in regional Queensland.
The State Government continued its investment with an additional $6.6 million to be delivered in two rounds over the next two years to create better jobs, expand agricultural supply chains and deliver significant economic benefits to rural areas.
For more information on the RED grant scheme visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au.