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Visit to Benalla business provides insight into industry

Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan visited Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers and Benalla's Australia Munitions factory last week.

MONIQUE FREER May 1, 2014 3:37am

Joyleen and Greg McNulty hosted Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan for a tour around Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers on Wednesday.


A visit to a Benalla business will provide valuable insight into how to strengthen the region’s manufacturing industry, says Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan.

Ms McGowan toured Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers on Wednesday to see first-hand how the local business was operating in a tough market.

‘‘It’s such a big business and such a good business, proving such beautiful product to Australia — and it’s local,’’ she said.

‘‘It employs 45 people and value adds enormously to the region’s economy.’’

With timber a vital component of the agriculture and manufacturing sector in Indi, Ms McGowan was interested in seeing how the owners of the sawmill had created another market for timber grown and harvested in the area.

‘‘Value-adding to what we produce in Indi is going to be critical for the long-term sustainability we’re going to need to create jobs for our youth,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s not enough to simply produce and export, we must be looking at creative and innovative ways to value add to what we produce.

‘‘To remain competitive in the current economic conditions, businesses need to be continually looking at ways to operate more efficiently and effectively to ensure they are sustainable, provide quality employment opportunities and experience growth.’’

Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers director Greg McNulty said the company was sustainable because it was constantly improving its efficiency.

‘‘Manufacturing in Australia — as we know — is a challenge, and you’ve got to improve your efficiency,’’ he said.

‘‘You never stop trying to be more efficient, you’ve got to be sustainable.’’

Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers financial operations manager Joyleen McNulty said training was paramount to manufacturing in Australia, and north-east Victoria in particular.

‘‘Skills are vital, especially in rural communities, because without those skills it’s hard to keep those jobs in the community,’’ she said.

‘‘Another important part of being a small family-operated business in a rural area is giving back to the community, and we do a lot of that. We support numerous organisations within Benalla and the region.’’

Ryan and McNulty Sawmillers was the winner of the Skills and Training Award and the Community Engagement Award at the Victorian Association of Forest Industries awards night in November.

Ms McGowan also toured Benalla’s Australian Munitions factory on Wednesday afternoon. Ms McGowan said one of her priorities was ensuring the workforce of 230 employees was maintained into the future.

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