Grant supports state-of-the-art banana packing facility and good jobs
Published Thursday, 01 September, 2022 at 03:48 PM
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner
Leading FNQ banana growers, Red Rock Agri will construct a state-of-the-art banana packing facility in Far North Queensland with help from funding under Round 4 of the Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant program.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner MP says the new facility will boost economic growth and create good jobs in the Cassowary Coast region.
“Far North Queensland is well known for its rich soils and climate which grow the majority of Australia’s bananas,” Mr Furner said.
“This new banana packing facility will create up to 27 direct full-time good jobs to help with the cultivation and production of the banana plantation.
“Once in operation, this facility will also provide a wider opportunity for employment in agricultural, transport, accommodation and hospitality industries.”
Directors of Red Rock Agri Craig Buchanan, Brad Finch and Dyann Finch bring a wealth of knowledge to the new packing facility having established the LMB Bartle Frere plantation and packing facilities from 2010 to 2022.
“Previously, we have designed and constructed the LMB Bartle Frere and LMB Palmerston facilities which included developing 350 hectares of banana plantations, managing the production line and marketing the produce,” Brad Finch said.
Mr Finch says the grant will be very valuable in helping to establish the new packing facility which will include modern technology and cooling systems.
“The funds will be used to engineer and construct all the valuable custom-made equipment used to process the bananas ready for market,” he said.
“The equipment will consist of trailer points, bunch hanging and process line, bunch wash, a banana processing trough and packing stations, carton conveyor system, scraps conveyor and mulching system.”
“When in full production by June 2026 approximately 650,000 cartons of bananas will be produced off this property annually,” Mr Finch added.
Berry North is one of 16 businesses approved in the fourth round of the RED Grants program with total funding of just over $3 million. Overall, these 16 projects are expected to create more than 217 direct long-term jobs across regional Queensland.
The initial three rounds of the RED Grants program have seen funding of $10 million over three years to support more than 30 projects which have created 1,800 jobs across regional Queensland.
The Palaszczuk Government has continued its investment with a further $6.6 million to be delivered in two rounds over the next two years to generate even more jobs, expand agricultural supply chains and provide significant economic benefit to rural areas.
For more information about the RED Grant scheme visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administers the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Minister Furner – Ron Goodman – 0427 781 920
QRIDA – Katie Heinemann – 3032 0150