Queenslanders’ reconnecting with their green thumbs during the coronavirus shutdown is helping fertilise growth at Childers-based Oreco Group, an Australian-owned horticultural and garden products business.
Minister for State Development and Manufacturing Cameron Dick said Oreco’s operations are currently undergoing a $20.8 million expansion with a new manufacturing hub, and on top of their rapid growth over recent years, the company has just experienced a 140 per cent increase to its March sales.
“The transformation of Oreco’s site in Childers is on track and is set to create 140 new jobs that will be a major boost to the Wide Bay Burnett region, and now, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they have begun recruiting additional staff, including up to 5 apprentices, earlier than planned,” Mr Dick said.
“Queenslanders are embracing gardening during COVID-19 and Oreco is seeing a massive increase in demand for gardening products such as mulches, potting mixes, plant feeds, bark, pebbles and composts.
“The positive flow-on effects of this aren’t limited to Oreco and are being felt as far away as the Darling Downs, where Thomas Manufacturing, a Dalby-based manufacturer is supplying specialist equipment for Oreco’s expansion project.
“With Oreco continuing their expansion as planned, Thomas Manufacturing has been able to retain its workforce in the Western Downs community through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Oreco Group is Australia’s largest single producer of garden products including sugar cane mulch for major retailers like Bunnings, and the expansion once complete will allow the business to double production, introduce new product lines and increase its logistics capability.
Oreco managing director Paul Woosley said with people social distancing, they are turning their attention to home activities, such as painting the house and taking up gardening.
“It appears that they are really getting back to basics and are building productive gardens and planting fruit-bearing trees,” Mr Woosley said.
Mr Dick said this is another great example of a Queensland company that is mobilising in the face of the pandemic.
“While we have our distilleries supplying ethanol for hand sanitiser producers and companies like Evolve retooling for face masks – such vital work to meet our PPE needs – it’s also great to see companies like Oreco ramping up production to meet demand,” Mr Dick said.
“The capability that we have been building in our domestic industries through initiatives like the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund is giving us an extra layer of economic resilience in times of need, and those benefits flow right through the supply chain.”
Learn more about how the Queensland Government’s $175 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund is supporting job-creating projects right across the state.