HARWOOD’S $9M ‘SHED’ to help keep local jobs sweet
IT MAY have been described as an $9.8m shed, but Harwood Sugar Mill believes its new silo storage and logistics warehouse is a sweet shot in the arm for local jobs.
The site was officially opened today by Member for Page Kevin Hogan, who helped secure more than $4m of grant funding for the site.
And he reminded Clarence Valley locals, that Sunshine Sugar was our own sugar brand, and we should get behind it.
"This is a massive $9.8 million investment into the future of the sugar industry in Harwood," Mr Hogan said.
"It will guarantee, not only the 150 direct jobs, but the 1200-1500 indirect jobs associated with the mill.
"It was fantastic to see what has been achieved with the $4.1 million Government grant.
"It will be a safer environment for food security and handling as it is an independent site with no other traffic in the area."
CEO of Sunshine Sugar, Chris Connors said from a logistic point of view the new facility was a positive.
"There is 4-5,000 tonnes of storage available, which is important for our new products, including our low GI sugar and additional diversification projects," he said.
"It is a modern facility with a dual-roller door system which includes a fast-acting emergency door, required for a food-grade building."
"It has also been built well above the 1-in-100 year flood level."
Sunshine Sugar chairman Jim Sneesby said it the site allowed for greater efficiency and reliability for their supply network.
"We've got everything here," he said. "We've got a transport program, it's all computerised and they can come intake enough sugar for Woolworths or for Arnotts, or for anyone else."
Mr Hogan used the opening to reinforce a campaign of his to highlight locally owned and produced brands, and said he believed still that many locals didn't realise that local sugar was available at retail.
"When you have a recession, and when we have COVID, every job is important," he said.
"From this, we've seen we want to be more self-reliant, and a more sustainable country ourselves, and we've seen a lot of supply chains come under stress getting food and other necessities out.
"This is one that worked."
Mr Hogan said the new "shed", would make sure the supply chain and the products our industry produced would get out no matter the conditions.
"Sunshine Sugar is the retail arm of our sugar industry … and I don't think a lot of people on the Clarence know that," he said.
"I've been promoting that, and I said to people if you go into a supermarket and see a product that's not Sunshine Sugar, it's more than likely going to be foreign owned.
"Sunshine Sugar is our jobs, and our industry, and it needs our support in the retail space as well.