Bundaberg will boast an $11.7 million macadamia nut processing facility and tourist attraction following approval from Bundaberg Regional Council last week.

Council formally signed off on a development application by Macadamias Australia to expand its existing Bundaberg infrastructure to include a 6,000m2 processing plant and a 535m2 retail outlet.

Announcing the approval, Council’s Planning and Development spokesperson Cr Ross Sommerfeld said the project would have many positives for the local economy.

‘The potential exists not only to grow and process up to 10,000 tonnes of nut in the next few years but also the creation of a tourist facility which will certainly add value to the business,’ he said.

‘Macadamias Australia, operated by the Steinhardt family from a property located off Goodwood Road, now supplies macadamia kernel to over 15 countries worldwide.

‘They have 195,000 macadamia trees planted and additional plantings are anticipated to significantly increase local macadamia production in the next few years.’

Cr Sommerfeld said it was estimated that construction and operation of the new plant and retail outlet would create more than 100 local jobs.

He said Macadamia Australia’s initial focus would be on a range of value-added products for export markets, in particular the growing Chinese market.

Australia’s macadamia industry is worth more than $200 million annually, with more than 70% of our crop exported to more than 40 countries.

The Australian Macadamia Society reports that Bundaberg is now Australia’s largest macadamia-producing region.

The food and agriculture sector is identified as one of Queensland’s priority export sectors in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.