QUARRY SUCCESS: It has has been a hard, but reward, year for Brett Austin and Marty Hutchings.
QUARRY SUCCESS: It has has been a hard, but reward, year for Brett Austin and Marty Hutchings.

Hard work at the quarry brings rewards

NEW owners of the Coutts Crossing Quarry have just brought up their first 12 months of operation and with it has come a great sense of relief.

Ulmarra's Marty Hutchings and Brett Austin threw most of their life savings into the project when former owner Rex Nicholson decided to sell early last year.

“We knew there were years and years of material still to be taken from the quarry and when the chance came up we jumped at the opportunity,” Brett said.

“What we didn't realise was that we were about to be hit by a major economic downturn coupled with an explosion in fuel prices.

“It made it very tough for us in the opening months, especially when we saw our fuel bill rise in one month from $6000 to $18,000. Still we pushed on and worked hard and the result is we now have a happy bank manager and a happy accountant.”

The two business partners were both raised in the Clarence Valley, although they were strangers until they bumped into each other at an air force base in Weipa.

“Brett picked me up from the plane and he asked me where I came from, I told him it was small town in NSW and he would never have heard of it ,” Marty said.

“He asked me again and when I told him Grafton he just laughed saying that he was brought up just up the road at Wooli.

“Since that time we have kept in touch, although it was only after I moved back home to Ulmarra that we met up again and decided to go into business together.”

Their company, Clarence Earthmoving, has recently formed a partnership with local firm Conic Crushing to produce tonnes of road base materials.

They both know that plenty of hard work is required in the coming years, but they're confident of a prosperous future.



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