Investment, jobs boost for Mooloolaba
De Brett Seafood and Queensland's newest bank, Bendigo Bank, have joined forces in a multi-million dollar development of Mooloolaba wharf.
The project will result in up to 40 new jobs as De Brett aims to double its current $25 million turnover by boosting its fish-processing capacity to target lucrative overseas markets.
The announcement was made today by De Brett managing director Ken Ferguson and Bendigo Bank's Queensland chief John Goddard.
Mr Goddard said Bendigo Bank's funding of the project represented the launch of its international trade operations into Queensland.
"It signals Bendigo's intention to be a serious player in Queensland's small-to-medium business banking market following our merger last year with First Australian Building Society.
"First Australian simply did not have the capacity to support local businesses with the type of development package we announce here today.
"Bendigo Bank is now in the midst of rolling out our full suite of services - including business banking and international trade - right across the old First Australian network and we are looking to invest in businesses at a community level. Today's initiative will be followed immediately with the appointment of a new business banker to service the Sunshine Coast.
"Bendigo Bank believes that successful customers and communities create success for our bank. De Brett's development will be a tremendous boost to the local economy and we are pleased to be able to support the company's plans."
Mr Ferguson said the expansion plans represented "an investment in the future of Mooloolaba Harbour".
"It will expand wharf facilities and produce ongoing benefits which will flow to other local businesses and tradespeople.
"Export is the main key to growth of the industry here in Mooloolaba. We already export fish to Japan and America in particular and the better we can service these markets, the higher the quality of our produce, the higher the demand and the more opportunities to be created here in Mooloolaba."
Mr Ferguson said De Brett had already commenced work on:
- A new $800,000 ice-making plant to be installed on the wharf.
- A new packing shed.
- New unloading facilities including computerised bar-coding to enable the company to better track the destination and pricing of the fishermen's catch.
- A further extension of the wharf is planned to provide additional berths.
Mr Ferguson said the company primarily handled the fish on consignment from local vessels and expected the fleet to grow to fill the extra orders expected.
"This is great news for Mooloolaba because not only will we add between 20 and 40 new jobs but there is also construction work plus ongoing work for the likes of electricians, refrigeration mechanics and so on.
"Bendigo Bank has been very supportive of our plans and we look forward to working with the Bank to bring the project to fruition."
Mr Goddard said Bendigo was in the midst of rebranding First Australian branches as Bendigo Bank and introducing the Bank's full range of services to all 47 branches throughout Queensland.