A Queensland Manufacturing Hubs Grant will enable a Rockhampton business to strengthen its ability to meet demand in the housing construction market, while creating 16 new jobs and boosting local business.
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher announced a grant of more than $500,000 at Manuplex, in North Rockhampton, on Wednesday morning.
“This grant has put this fantastic local business in a position to expand its product range, create good jobs and provide better services to CQ.
“Manuplex – which has 85 full-time staff – is purchasing four steel roll-forming machines, that will enable the business to create a new range of steel frames and trusses for the commercial and residential construction sector.
“This is what the Hub Grants and local Manufacturing Hubs are about,” Mr Butcher said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is arming businesses with the tools to bring work onshore and keep Queensland’s economy booming.”
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said Manuplex is now hoping to fill a critical gap in the housing market, left by the supply-chain shortage.
“Manuplex has been able to pivot from its current manufacture of steel frames and trusses for mining and commercial purposes, to creating steel frames for residential homes.
“This builds on the skills and capabilities of its existing workforce and capitalises on the business’s strengths. This is an area they are already familiar with and can move into seamlessly,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“Housing availability is top of mind for people in CQ and this grant means local builders won’t have to rely on supplies from out of town.
“Not only that, but the steel frames and trusses manufactured by Manuplex with this equipment will complement their existing work, with opportunities in temporary and modular buildings for mining and defence camps,” he said.
The grant, part of the Manufacturing Hubs Grant Program, will also fund computer assisted design software that will help Manuplex modernise its manufacturing capability and increase productivity.
Manuplex Managing Director Matt Jurkic said the opportunity would deliver growth for the business and benefit local builders significantly.
“We expect to put on another 16 full-time positions and upskill our current staff,” he said.
“We can see this supply shortage impacting the construction sector for quite some time to come – it won’t turn around quickly – and we know this is a good opportunity for our company,” he said.
“I know local builders who are frustrated – they can’t accept any more contracts and are struggling to complete the contracts they have due to the supply shortages, labour issues and increased costs on materials. This will help them get their business moving quickly again too,” he said.
“We were able to work with the Government, who were great in helping us getting the funding quickly. The first machine has arrived and we’re already expanding our workforce,” he said.
“We’ve had overwhelming interest in the roles we’ve advertised so we’ll be able to run the machinery in shifts. We’re also hiring more women than ever before, so this represents a step towards diversity, upskilling and growth for our team in a traditionally male-dominated industry,” he said.
Mr Butcher said manufacturing was the backbone of Queensland’s economy.
“Manufacturing already contributes $20 billion a year, to the state’s economy and employees and we want to see that build even further,” Mr Butcher said.
“That’s why the 2022/23 State Budget saw a further $50 million allocated to continue our critical Manufacturing Hub Grant and Made in Queensland Grant programs.”
Demonstrating the Palaszczuk Government’s strong commitment to manufacturing, the Queensland Manufacturing Hubs received permanent funding this year.
“The Hubs are bringing together stakeholders to collaborate and grow regional manufacturing,” Mr Butcher said.
“Building local businesses, strengthening their capacity and capability helps local economies by delivering good long-term, local jobs.
“Australian companies are increasingly looking to local manufacturers to step up and fill gaps exposed in supply chains, so it’s fantastic to see these manufacturing businesses in regional Queensland build and grow, to meet demand.”