Yeppoon's $13.8 million unfinished pineapple processing facility has sold at an on-site liquidation auction for $4.6 million, to a local beef value-adding business.
Plans to open the pineapple plant on the Capricorn Coast were thrown into limbo after the company behind the project went into liquidation.
The 2000 square metre facility at Yeppoon was originally jointly funded by the federal government, which tipped in $5.8 million under the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages Fund, and Hidden Valley Harvest Pty Ltd.
Designed to feature leading edge food technology, construction on the plant was green-lit at a sod turning event in December, 2019, and slated to be operational by June, 2020.
However, Hidden Valley Harvest terminated the contract with the construction company in February 2021, due to planning disagreements, and the facility remained unfinished.
Liquidators sold the facility and land on June 22, with seven registered bidders on the day.
Tony Newton of Keppel Brand, a beef value-adding business on the Capricorn Coast, was successful with his $4.6 million bid.
The facility will join Keppel Brand's block of land right beside it on Pineapple Drive in Hidden Valley.
Keppel Brand plans to construct a $20 million cattlemen's beef value adding facility in Yeppoon.
The project is expected to create up to 85 jobs as well as 35 jobs in its construction phase.
Keppel Brand director Mark Davie said they had been looking to expand their business for some time.
"This new facility will enable Keppel Brand to bolster it's operations in Yeppoon and will fill the jobs, that the Hidden Valley Harvest facility planned to create," Mr Davie said.
"The new facility will build upon our existing Keppel Brand business into over 14,000 customer outlets Australia-wide.
"Most importantly it will create jobs and career pathways in our local community."
Before the federal election, the former Coalition government committed $11 million to the food value adding manufacturing facility.
Mr Davie said they're now looking for a funding commitment from the Albanese Labor government to expand the cattlemen's beef value adding facility.
"We are truly passionate about providing new applications for beef in domestic and export markets," he said.
"This critical piece of value adding infrastructure will deliver on a vision we had three years ago to move the needle on domestic per capita consumption of beef.
"We want to sell beef into new markets, leverage the Australian beef brand globally and we want to market beef for the superfood it is.
"The new product range will enable Keppel Brand to expand into more markets including retail markets interstate and internationally."
Federal Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said she was pleased to see a local business like Keppel Brand expand their operations with the purchase of the processing facility.
"Keppel Brand's plans for further development are exciting and they are testament to Mark and Kelly's determination and commitment to their product," Ms Landry said.
"Myself and the Coalition government had committed nearly $11 million in funding to Keppel Brand from the Northern Australia Development Grant Programs to construct a new manufacturing facility which included state of the art processing, refrigeration and packaging equipment performing portioning, battering, breading, coating of beef and other value adding products.
"I hope the new Labor federal government will honour this commitment to Keppel Brand and support local jobs on the Capricorn Coast."
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