Thanks to a combined award of more than $1 million from the Queensland Government’s Made in Queensland program, two Toowoomba manufacturers will expand their operations and hire additional workers.
Obadare Group will become Australia’s sole American Petroleum Institute local rig manufacturer for the oil and gas sector thanks to a $937,000 award, which will result in the creation of 15 new jobs.
Announcing the grant award, Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher congratulated Obadare on its innovative and ambitious goal to transform from a rig component producer to a start-to-end full-rig manufacturer.
“Growing the business and getting to that next level sometimes means taking risks, being bold and the Made in Queensland grant program is designed to help manufacturers like Obadare Group, who have a very clear idea and a sound plan for growth, can take that step,” he said.
“Rigs for the oil and gas sector are currently manufactured overseas and imported to Australia. Obadare is transitioning from being a component manufacturer to a whole-rig manufacturer, providing Australian designs and innovation to customers – that’s a major step and one to be congratulated and I am so pleased we have been able to support them with this grant.”
Obadare Group Operations Manager Stephen Lucht described the award as “invaluable for helping the company to achieve its goals”.
“Australian manufacturing is such a tough industry and government support is really crucial for success,” he stated.
You’ve got to go to market with the most efficient tools and machinery available – nobody gets handed work by chance.”
The company, which employs 70 people, plans to utilize the grant money to purchase numerous pieces of equipment, including augmented reality headsets to assist customers with rig package commissioning and long-term maintenance and troubleshooting.
Mr Lucht said the grant money will enable the company to upskill 25 current employees and, owing to the procurement of new robotic steel profiling technology, minimize metal processing waste and improve steel processing efficiency.
“Obadare is a leading Queensland advanced manufacturer, nationally recognised as a regional employer of choice supported by cutting-edge, advanced robotics, technologies and systems within a modern manufacturing facility,” he continued.
“The faith that the Queensland Government is showing in local manufacturing is fantastic and will be repaid through jobs growth and positive impact on the local economy.”
Minister Butcher also congratulated Wellcamp business Tanuki – which creates products that help mitigate sodic and crusting soil problems – on its grant of almost $200,000.
“This grant is going to help Tanuki hire eight more locals, over the next five years, which will drive greater capacity and output from this great business,” Mr Butcher said.
Tanuki Managing Director Durell Hammond said the company will use the grant to buy a machine which automates their packaging process.
“This solves a serious bottleneck problem for us and we are now able to automate the process that packages the products into bags and then loads them onto pallets, faster and safer than if done manually,” Mr Hammond said.
“We’re tapping into a new area, distributing this product to customers throughout Australia, and this grant has allowed us to smooth out the last mile of the production process – distribution – which is often the hardest part in a country as large and spread-out as Australia.”