The future is looking sweeter for Far North Queensland’s Australian Chocolate, with funding support from the Palaszczuk Government set to help the producer create 31 new jobs over the next four years.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the Mission Beach company will construct a new facility and purchase processing equipment, while further developing their cocoa plantation to increase raw product supply.
“The Palaszczuk Government sees huge value in upskilling staff and expansion, which is why we’ve backed Australian Chocolate through our Jobs and Regional Growth Fund,” Mr Dick said.
“Australian Chocolate will train its workers to employ an innovative trellis system, developed in Victoria, that not only protects the cocoa trees but increases their yield.
“The additional cocoa processing equipment will allow the company to offer processing services to other cocoa growers in the region.
“Through this growth, we’re also going to see an increased demand for other locally-grown produce – pepper, vanilla, tropical fruit – which feature as part of the company’s product line.”
Director Lynn Jahnke said Australian Chocolate has been awarded a host of medals and trophies at the Australian Fine Food Awards 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the Sydney Royal Chocolate Show 2018.
“Our popular Charley’s chocolate products are 70 per cent cocoa and have no additives, artificial flavours or preservatives,” she said.
“We are one of only three places in the world where visitors can see the cocoa growing on the tree being turned into chocolate.”
Mr Dick said Australian Chocolate is now in the box seat to drive and expand the cocoa-growing industry in Far North Queensland.
“Through this growth we are creating more export potential for our state, which is great news for every local business involved in the production and supply chain,” he said.
“Our government is happy to be investing in the Far North’s growing food processing and distribution industries and we are committed to strengthening regional economies right across Queensland.”