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Hunter ready to meet manufacturing challenge


Newly-appointed Hunter Manufacturing Awards chair Jacqui Daley believes the region is ready to meet any production challenge.

She steps into the role previously occupied by Emergent Group’s Steven Smith, who is remaining on the board.

The other members on the not-for-profit organisation’s executive include deputy chair Brett Allan (Molycop), treasurer Andrew Gresham (BAE Systems), Graeme Vennell (HunterNet), Frank Sammut (Central Coast Industry Connect), Kristy Hedley (Hedweld Group) and Steph Loadsman (KPMG).

Newly-appointed Hunter Manufacturing Awards chair Jacqui Daley.

Manufacturers from the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-North Coast are currently enjoying a renaissance, with global demand for products on the rise and a renewed government focus on increasing advanced industrial capability across the nation.

This, coupled with the NSW Government commitment to build the next set of trains in NSW, has local industry leaders asking – why not do it in the Hunter?

Ms Daley said long gone are the days of thinking of manufacturing in the region as the stereotypical reference to BHP steelmaking.

“Our industry is diverse, technically-advanced and it’s building a name for itself both nationally and internationally.” She stated.

“The NSW Government has vowed to build new trains in NSW… and we’re suggesting that they look no further than the Hunter.

“We have a strong pedigree in building rolling stock with Cardiff-based Downer manufacturing the high-performing Waratah Trains fleet.

“It has also recently been announced they’ll build 65 new six-car trains for the Queensland Government.”

In addition, the Australian Government is set to establish the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund focussed on supporting Australian innovation and industry.

It will provide finance options for projects to help Australian industry lead the way in renewables and low emissions technologies, medical science, transport, defence and resources.

“Newcastle-based energy technology company SwitchDin is building the Southern Hemisphere’s largest test lab for energy products like solar inverters, batteries and EV chargers,” Ms Daley said.

“We have solvable auto cleaning tablets being made at Caves Beach, hydrogen battery storage at Tomago and electric boats at Port Macquarie.

“Manufacturers across the region are developing innovative products at a rate of knots.

“We are connected by land and sea to markets around the world and we know how to get products from the factory floor to the customer with minimum fuss.”

Ms Daley said collaboration was at the heart of the industry.

“Many businesses – big and small – are working together, sharing knowledge and resources,” she added.

“This is when innovation happens and it’s great news for expanding our sovereign capability in manufacturing across industries.

“We can absolutely make things here in Australia.

“Having a supply chain that is resilient to shocks from global disruption is smart business and the manufacturing industry – especially in the Hunter and surrounding areas – is more than up for the challenge of tackling some of these major projects.

“Whether that’s building a fleet of trains, landing gear on a F35, turbines for an offshore wind farm or ladders to access mining vehicles.”

The Hunter Manufacturing Awards will launch its annual program later next month, which culminates in the presentation in October.

Manufacturing spotlight

  • Downer manufactured and maintained 119 Waratah trains in NSW – Australia’s largest passenger fleet on Australia’s largest passenger network
  • Mits Alloy manufacture high-end aluminium trays and canopies both nationally and internationally. They are based in Mayfield and are seen as the market leader globally
  • Sirron Holdings Group’s rapid development of products in response to the coronavirus has introduced 230+ consumable products into the market, including a solvable auto cleaning table range officially launched into Supercheap Auto this month, substantially reducing single use plastic, all from their facility in Caves Beach
  • Ampcontrol is at the forefront of developing and supplying advanced technology, products, and services to the resources, infrastructure, and energy sectors. An example includes DRIFTEX, a Battery Electric Vehicle purpose-built to support the mining industry’s transition to electrification. Global distribution with their head office at Tomago
  • Newcastle-based SwitchDin have created a platform that securely communicates with and controls virtually any solar system, battery or load, delivering performance intelligence, insight and remote management capabilities
  • Hedweld manufacture jigs, joists, hoists, farm fencing and plenty more. Global distribution, with their head office at Mount Thorley near Singleton Resourceful Living manufacturer a range of tailor-made products from 100% plastic waste and are based in Kurri Kurri

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