Jason Wood MP, Federal Member for La Trobe recently invited Minister for Industry and Science, The Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP to La Trobe to visit local farming and manufacturing facilities including Australian Precision Technologies Pty Ltd. (APT Engineering) in Berwick and Mountain Harvest Foods in Gembrook.
At APT Engineering, Minister Macfarlane and Mr Wood spoke to Ron Wienzierl, Business Director of APT Engineering, and Graeme Bulte, Managing Director/CEO of Aquaterro APS who have formed a strong local partnership. The discussions centred around the Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme and the Manufacturing Transition Programme’s capacity to aid local manufacturing and farming businesses in developing to the next level of business operations.
“The partnership between APT and Aquaterro has demonstrated that business in La Trobe should be strongly supported. Not only is APT boosting their manufacturing capacities dramatically, but they’re also boosting local employment” said Mr Wood.
“Aquaterro welcomes the support and commitment to industry development shown by Jason Wood MP and Minister Macfarlane and is currently shortlisted for several Defence Projects worth nearly a Billion Dollars in total,
“Aquaterro intends if we are successful, to provide more manufacturing opportunities through these contracts through its key supply partners, such as APT Engineering. Our success will only happen through the support of the community, local advanced manufacturing industry and government.
“That success will result in a substantial increase in jobs, investment in development as well as the growth of technology based business in the South East of Melbourne.
“Such development, employment and investment is also vital in order to support the defence industry export business that will create the business opportunities of the future” said Mr Bulte.
“It’s also great to see family businesses like Mountain Harvest Foods not only growing their company capability and capacity, but also increasing local employment from three staff in 2009 to 60 casual and full-time staff currently” said Mr Wood.
“With government support through Programmes like the Next Generation Manufacturing Investment and the Manufacturing Transition Programmes, businesses like Mountain Harvest Foods and APT Engineering can make that next jump to farming and manufacturing not just for local franchises and direct wholesale – but also to expanding to global markets” said Minister Macfarlane.
With expected expansion, Mountain Harvest Foods hopes to double their employment of local people in the next 18 months and triple within the next 5 years, and APT are looking to open two new facilities to house their manufacturing operations.
The unique development of a business from potato farming to food processing of niche products for franchises as well as direct wholesale of products like potato cakes, has served as a rejuvenating call to the farming industry in and around La Trobe.
When this is combined with the strength in manufacturing prompted by APT Engineering’s solid development and growth, La Trobe is looking to be one of the next employment hub’s in Victoria.