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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5956

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (Braddon) (16:15): On 10 June, last Friday, I had the great honour of officially opening the extensions to Penguin Composites in the beautiful township of Penguin. Penguin Composites were one of 36 successful projects under the North West and Northern Tasmania Innovation and Investment Fund, which I have spoken about on several occasions in this place, with a total commitment of $35.4 million. In essence, the innovation fund asked proponents to put their own skin into the project and, of course, put up a viable business case; they were to be sustainable businesses into the future and, most importantly, able to provide further employment.

Penguin Composites have been able to do that. They started off in 1977 as a fibreglass-manufacturing shop in Main Road, Penguin. Their chief executive, Mr John van der Woude, started by making goods for the outdoor and adventure industry and quickly established a fine reputation for producing high-quality fibreglass products. John also has a successful surf and water activities retail outlet in Devonport. Needless to say, in time the company outgrew its Main Road premises and moved to the present five-acre South Road site, where they have continued to expand.

Penguin Composites manufactures items for the mining industry and components for underground and above-ground mining vehicles. They build and repair marine vessels, caravans and slide-on camper vans, and make wound composite vessels for use in domestic and industrial waste and liquid storage situations. The company, interestingly enough, is also expanding operations to produce composite poles such as power poles. These are not only interesting in terms of their technology; they are low-impact poles and of course have a tremendous resilience quality, particularly in areas prone to flooding and fires. So I look forward to the development of this product.

Penguin Composites received $1.275 million from the innovation and investment fund, and with their own moneys the total project expenditure is around $3 million. They have also increased their workforce to 56 and look forward to increasing it to 85 in the next 18 months. So I congratulate them on their excellent enterprise.