- 6 January 2020
Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI) staff and Committee members ventured to the Wingecarribee region on the 10th and 11th of December, to visit and meet with local businesses and hold its last Committee meeting for 2019. The regional visit provided the RDASI Committee with an opportunity to meet local community and business leaders and gain a greater understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the Wingecarribee Shire. The regional tour comprised of visits to The Mill in Bowral, Komatsu in Moss Vale, Austral Bricks in Bowral and Austruss in Braemar.
To begin their tour, RDASI sat down with owner of The Mill, Matt Holt and The Mill business resident Max King from Auscare. The group discussed potential collaboration opportunities with RDASI and The Mill, including utilising their meeting room facilities, hosting events and supporting local start-ups. Matt Holt took RDASI through the building’s history, dating back to its use as a timber mill, and the process of how it became what it is now. Matt also highlighted some of the successful businesses that work out of The Mill to the Committee. One example included a young entrepreneur aged 19, who has just started his own Gelato business, based in the courtyard of The Mill.
The second visit for the Committee was to Komatsu where RDASI met with Supply Director, Darren Vine to discover the inner workings of the successful, global manufacturer and distributer of earthmoving and mining equipment. After taking the Committee through a presentation of Komatsu’s operations, Darren guided RDASI through the Komatsu warehouse where equipment was being constructed with one almost ready to transport to its buyer. The tools and equipment needed to construct these earthmoving marvels proved to be just as extraordinary as the final product.
RDASI’s last site visit for the 10th of December was to Austral Bricks in Bowral. Austral Bricks is famous for is “Bowral Blue” dry pressed bricks that set the standard in building products. Plant Manager, Allen Jamba explained the process of how their bricks are created while RDASI walked through the plant. Austral Bricks blends traditional craftsmanship with advanced production technology to create the bricks made from the earth to reveal the lush colours of Australian surroundings. Allen stated how popular their bricks are among architects and builders because of the company’s ability to create custom bricks shapes in their authentic colours.
To conclude the day of the insightful business visits, RDASI invited local council members, businesses and key local stakeholders attend dinner at the Farm Club in Werai. Staff members from the Farm Club made everyone feel welcome in their beautifully set up events shed and each guest was treated to delicious canapés, mains and desserts. To finish the night, guests listened to speeches from RDASI Chair, Hugh Cooke, Wingecarribee Shire Council Town Planner, Peter Taggart, Tourism and Economic Development Manager, Steve Rosa and Business Consultant, Randall Walker.
The second day of the Committee’s Wingercarribee tour began at Austruss, where the Committee were met by Managing Director, Andrew Fowler. Austruss have been leaders in prefabrication since 2003 and is Australian owned, designed and made. Andrew led RDASI through his business, reflecting on his journey to build Austruss into the successful business it is today. Austruss provides gauge streel frames and Trusses from TrueCore Steel as well as prefabricated elements such as floor cassettes, bathroom pods, wall and façade panels, modular construction, skids for data centres and bespoke solutions. Austruss has worked with schools, aged care facilities, commercial premises, apartments and hospitals, just to name a few.
After all board meeting formalities, the time had come to end a wonderful trip in the Wingecarribee Shire. RDA Southern Inland would like to thank all businesses and stakeholders for welcoming the Committee and staff to the Wingecarribee Shire. Conversations with these local business owners revealed a consistent issue; skills. Finding skilled workers in areas of manufacturing, construction, engineering and other trades is a constant struggle for local employers. RDASI is committed to working closer with TAFE, education providers, schools and local businesses in 2020 to address this issue.