Paul Woosley CEO of Oreco with his new factory that is under construction north of Childers. Photo: Paul Beutel
Paul Woosley CEO of Oreco with his new factory that is under construction north of Childers. Photo: Paul Beutel

Local company's sales up 140%, jobs rise amid world pandemic

SOCIAL distancing has helped foster a love for gardening and Childers' Oreco Group is reaping the benefits with a 140 per cent increase to sales in March.

Oreco Group is Australia's largest single producer of gardening products such as sugar cane mulch for major retailers including Bunnings.

The company is undertaking a $20.8 million expansion with a manufacturing hub which will allow the business to double production, introduce product lines and increase its logistics capability.

Minister for state development and manufacturing Cameron Dick said with Oreco Group's rapid growth over recent years and the spike in March sales, the expansion was unaffected by Covid-19.

"The transformation of Oreco's site in Childers is on track and is set to create 140 new jobs that will be a major boost to the Wide Bay Burnett region, and now, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, they have begun recruiting additional staff, including up to five apprentices, earlier than planned," Mr Dick said.

"Queenslanders are embracing gardening during Covid-19 and Oreco is seeing a massive increase in demand for gardening products such as mulches, potting mixes, plant feeds, bark, pebbles and composts."

Mr Dick said the positive flow-on from Oreco's success was being felt as far as Dalby in the Darling Downs where a manufacturer was supplying specialist equipment for the expansion.

Oreco Group managing director Paul Woosley said since people began social distancing the company had noticed people were turning their attention to home activities, such as painting the house and gardening.

"It appears that they are really getting back to basics and are building productive gardens and planting fruit-bearing trees," Mr Woosley said.

Mr Dick said this was another great example of a Queensland company mobilising in the face of the pandemic.

"While we have our distilleries supplying ethanol for hand sanitiser producers and companies like Evolve retooling for face masks, it's also great to see companies like Oreco ramping up production to meet demand," he said.