NEW highly skilled manufacturing jobs are set to be created in Baw Baw with the move of Australian Trailer Manufacturers from Moe to Trafalgar.
Above (from left): Narracan MP Gary Blackwood, ATM managing director Neil Cooper, Regional and Rural Development minister Peter Ryan, Lisa Cooper and Baw Baw mayor Murray cook. Photos by William PJ Kulich.
The business presently employs 14 people, many travelling from across Baw Baw to work, and supplies speciality trailers to clients across mainland Australia and Tasmania.
Managing director Neil Cooper of Darnum told media the move to a new, larger workshop on Middle Road Trafalgar was intended to improve travel times for staff and allow the employment of nine new staff.
“The move to Trafalgar was based on a few decisions, [especially] travel time for our employees,” Mr Cooper said.
“Most of them are based in Warragul and Drouin and also I’m a local Baw Baw Shire boy.”
He said construction of the workshop was likely to begin “in around two weeks” pending council approval and he hoped the business would be operating from the site by December.
Above: Neil Cooper shows Peter Ryan the site on which ATM will build its expanded workshop.
Deputy Premier and Rural and Regional Development minister Peter Ryan visited the Middle Road site on Thursday to announce a state government contribution of $150,000 from the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund toward the $922,000 expansion.
“They currently are located in Moe [with employees working] across four bays,” Mr Ryan said.
“What we’re going to see on the site here that will be developed and hopefully operating by Christmas will be an enlarged facility, eight bays, which will mean a lot of the prefabbing of the trailers can be done in a sequential order.
“That means the trailers don’t have to be moved around the bays as much and the spray painting is done off site, but it will be a much better organised floor.”
Mr Ryan said the business would employ additional highly skilled certificate three workers and the state government was investing in the expansion to help grow the community.
Above: an ATM-built truck destined for central Queensland.
“We all need to just respect the fact that if private enterprise, through people like Neil and Lisa, are prepared to have a go, I think there’s an obligation on the government of the day to support them because they are, after all, the real cornerstone of what makes our communities tick,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Cooper said ATM had strong sales across the country because of its wide customer base.
“Our customer base is wide and that’s why I think the success of Australia Trailer Manufactures is what it is, it’s our customer base. I can pull small customers from all around the place and we put it all together.”
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