Board makers lured to Qld
AUSTRALIA's largest manufacturer of surfboards has been lured across the border from Tweed Heads to the Gold Coast, taking with it up to 70 jobs.
Boards and Surf Equipment (BASE) Pty Ltd will soon relocate its factory from Ourimbah Street, West Tweed Heads, to a Burleigh Heads industrial area where it will establish a world-class manufacturing and research and development centre.
Queensland's Minister for State Development and Innovation Tony McGrady boasted about the move, saying his State was "the best place in Australia to do business" and that BASE's new high-tech facility would bring surfboard production "out of the 60s and into the 21st century".
BASE has nine Australian and world-recognised labels such as On Fire, PipeDream, MC, Dahlberg and DHD, and currently exports to Japan, Europe and America.
The company plans to double overall output from its current 12,500 boards a year to 25,000 boards over the next four years and boost production next year by 50 per cent.
Mr McGrady said the major production boost would create a significant and lucrative niche export market for his State.
One of the company's five founding members and part-owner Murray Burton, a specialist surfboard shaper, said the move was a strategic one with more opportunities on the Queensland side of the border, including infrastructure and transport.
The Queensland Government "seemed to be bending over backwards" to coax the company across the border, Mr Burton said..
"They've promised us everything we need?.?.?.?so with that sort of encouragement it was hard not to go," Mr Burton said.
Surfboard production, he said, had undergone a huge transformation from a cottage industry to a booming worldwide market.
"The heart of surfing and surfboard shaping used to be Hawaii, California and Australia, but now the biggest surfboard manufacturer is Thailand," he said.
"Like garment manufacturers, we too could take all our labels to Thailand or China where labour's cheap and have them made there, sit back and watch the royalties flow in - but our surfboards are in a different class.