Jacaranda factory set to close

UP TO 100 jobs will be lost from Ipswich after National Foods decided to close its Booval factory, ending more than a century of production in the city.

The factory produces one of Ipswich’s best-known exports, Jacaranda Iced Coffee, but the famous drink will now be made only in Logan City.

One hundred staff at the site were offered redundancy packages late yesterday after National Foods announced its Crestmead plant will soon become its sole factory in the region.

While many of the 100 jobs will be lost, the company has offered relocation packages for staff who want to transfer to the Crestmead plant.

One long-term employee told The Queensland Times staff were very upset by the news.

“The workers are gutted,” he said.

“There’s people who have worked at the plant for 30 years. There are generations of workers in the plant.

“The history of that site dates back more than a century, and now it’s been thrown away.”

The decision comes just one year after Japanese-owned company National Foods took over the Australian-owned company Dairy Farmers.

National Foods supply chain director Arthur Murphy said the decision was made for economic reasons.

“We have a great business at Booval and great people. However, when we take into account the duplication in our network and potential for future growth it makes sense to consolidate our volume into the Crestmead site,” he said in a statement.

“This is a strategic decision and in no way a reflection on the people who are doing a great job producing quality products at Booval every day.”

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said it was a sad day for Ipswich.

“I hate it when anything closes down, because the most important thing you can provide for someone is a job,” Cr Pisasale said.

“I grew up next to the factory and I remember going on a tour through it.

“It has played a big part in our history.

“Unfortunately this is what happens when bigger companies take over smaller ones.”

National Foods has promised to provide all staff impacted with their full entitlements.

National Foods corporate affairs manager Geoff Lynch said Jacaranda Ice Coffee would continue to be made at the same production levels.

“We simply cannot expand at Booval because there is residential areas surrounding it,” Mr Lynch said.

Jacaranda Milk is only sold in south-east Queensland.

It has such a loyal following its fans have created several social networking pages in its honour.

Last year there was an uproar among the hundreds of members when it was wrongly suggested that National Foods may cease making Jacaranda Milk.

It is anticipated the expansion of the Crestmead site will be completed in early 2011.

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