People will want to pay to work here.
Those were the words from 94-year-old Vanderfield stalwart, Claude Vandersee, when he officially opened their new $3.5 million facility on Wednesday.
Former and current staff, along with Vanderfield customers, attended the launch event showcasing the south west branch’s new training and workshop facility, which includes clean rooms and 12 working bays, some double sized for cotton pickers.
Vanderfield St George was first opened in 1982, an upgrade for their service technician at the time, Rob Porter, who had worked from a rented shed at Farm 96.
St George branch manager John Travers said the building development was about attracting staff and new people to the St George community.
It was a leading advancement in technology too, he said, allowing them to work in a quick, clean and efficient manner.
“This area never fails to surprise us,” he said.
“This will provide a few services we don’t even know we can do yet.”
The St George branch, with 22 staff, is quickly establishing itself as one of the company’s most profitable sites, and now their biggest workshop.
The significance of Vanderfield’s investment during a time when the town was facing plenty of uncertainty from water buybacks, didn’t go unnoticed.
Balonne Shire Council Mayor Richard Marsh said they had shown confidence in the future of agriculture and the future of St George and surrounding areas.
“Confidence is infectious,” he said.
“This, I think, will encourage others to take that next step in developing or starting a business in our area.
“I believe the Balonne Shire, as good as it is, is about to see great thing if we get certainty around the water policy. As our confidence returns, our businesses will grow.”
As to future developments, Vanderfield CEO Bruce Vandersee sighted a greater level of mobility from the business.
“We are trying to use technology as best we can to enhance our mobility,” he said.
“Our ability to get to our customers quickly, service them remotely.
“It does contradict this (building) but... the area has given us a lot of support for a long time and we felt like we needed to reciprocate it by doing this, but it is also to attract staff.”