Manufacturing is not only alive and well in regional NSW but is powering along, if you use the Steber International example.
Leading Australian boat manufacturer, Steber International, based in Taree on the NSW Mid North Coast, is currently going through a boom period with export orders this financial year alone expected to top $4m.
The four acre factory complex was the subject of a ministerial visit on Monday, August 21 with NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, the Hon. Melinda Pavey accompanied by Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead.
General Manager, Alan Steber proudly led a tour of the factory covering a $2m export vessel, 43ft navy vessel, 4380 sports cruiser, 34ft commercial fishing vessel and a host of other projects under construction.
Mr Steber also took the opportunity to discuss a wide range of innovative projects in various stages of development as well as several logistical issues that could hamper the company’s future expansion.
“To date we have manufactured over 50 government vessels to AMSA (Australian Marine Safety Authority) survey standards, more than 50 export orders and 200 commercial vessels throughout Australia”, Mr Steber said.
“In addition, over 10,000 small runabouts have been produced since the company’s inception”.
Innovation was a strong theme of discussions including R and D projects such as an electric hybrid patrol vessel, floating restaurant, SSS Bluebottle drone and floating solar panels on dams.
Mr Steber also discussed several logistical issues including river entrance hazards at Harrington and escalating costs from Essential Energy when transferring vessels from the factory to the Manning River.
“We will have a real issue in about 18 months’ time when we attempt to take the first 60ft Steber/Westcoaster deep draft fishing vessel across the Harrington bar, the first of such size since the heady days of timber boat construction”, Mr Steber said.
Minister Pavey’s visit follows hot on the heels of Marine 17 and the Sydney International Boat Show at Darling Harbour. The minister thrilled the marine industry with her exciting presentation at the boat show.
In addition, Deputy Secretary for Freight, Strategy and Planning with Transport NSW, Claire Gardiner-Barnes was guest speaker at Marine 17 and pushed the government’s mantra of driving innovation.
“This is a concept we at Steber fully embrace”, Mr Steber said. “In fact we are leading by example with our various R. and D. projects gaining national and international recognition”.
With encouragement from the minister, Mr Steber said the company plans to increase the apprenticeship intake to keep the industry labour force well trained.