$4 million plant opens

Nu-Edge Solutions Australia directors Mark Spagnolo, Anthony Camuglia and John Camuglia, managing director John Moriconi and Mildura Mayor Glenn Milne at the official opening of the company’s new factory in Koorlong. Picture: Michael DiFabrizio

Nu-Edge Solutions Australia directors Mark Spagnolo, Anthony Camuglia and John Camuglia, managing director John Moriconi and Mildura Mayor Glenn Milne at the official opening of the company’s new factory in Koorlong. Picture: Michael DiFabrizio

UP to 20 new jobs will be created in Koorlong as the $4 million Nu-Edge Solutions Australia fertiliser plant opened its doors this week.

But the investment almost didn’t happen with the company hitting hard times and staff volunteering to take a pay cut to save their jobs.

Based in Innisfail, Queensland, the agribusiness that focuses on achieving soil and plant health had been looking to expand and open a second factory.

Those plans were thrown into doubt, however, when the banana industry that made up a large portion of its customer base began to struggle.

As customers endured months of not meeting the cost of production, Nu-Edge itself naturally suffered.

Managing director John Moriconi and his team would have been forgiven at this point for putting plans of expansion on hold, but that’s not where the story ended.

“We never took our eyes off Mildura,” Mr Moriconi said. 

“We just knew that we had to buckle up for a little while and change our strategy.”

In a move that took management by surprise, staff in Innisfail approached them and offered to take a pay cut and move to a roster until things turned around.

“All our staff decided that they believed in the philosophy of the company and believed in the results of what we were doing and they stuck by us,” Mr Moriconi said.

“For 16 people to give up a week’s work every month, so that nobody would lose their job, it says a lot about the culture of the company and the people that we work with.”

On Thursday, the goal of opening up a second factory in Mildura was realised when the company showed off its 1.8 hectare site at Koorlong.

The liquid fertiliser manufacturing facility, which includes an analytical lab for soil and leaf tests, has 2000sqm under roof and came in at a cost of about $4 million.

The company expected the factory to create eight jobs by the end of this year and as many as 15 to 20 within the next three years. The jobs were expected to go to locals.

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