Top-qual­ity fruit

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Noel Thomp­son

THE amount of cit­rus to go through the Cen­tral Fruit Pack­ers plant in Mun­dub­bera this year will be about 40,000 bins of pro­duce.

This equates to be­tween 1.2 and 1.6 mil­lion boxes of fruit, in­clud­ing navels, im­pe­ri­als, lemons, tan­ge­los, Tay­lor Lees and, for ex­port, low-seed Mur­cott and Mur­cotts.

Plant manager Brent Cham­bers said the sea­son had started with a bang and the shed was al­ready pro­cess­ing 200 bins of cit­rus a day made up of lemons, im­pe­ri­als and navels.

“Here it is Sun­day and we are em­ploy­ing 85 staff now and that is set to in­crease as we set­tle into the

Cen­tral Fruit Pack­ers in Mun­dub­bera em­ploys more than 100 peo­ple in at the height of the sea­son. sea­son,” Mr Cham­bers said.

“We have 35 Ton­gans here to help us out. The other work­ers are made up from lo­cals and back­pack­ers.

“There has been an in­crease of lo­cal work­ers this year by about six on last year.”

Mr Cham­bers said the sea­son had started well and on time.

“One thing I can say is the qual­ity of the fruit is ex­tra­or­di­nary. We have not been able to keep up with the first-grade fruit side of the plant be­cause there is very lit­tle sec­ond grade,” he said.

“The or­chardists need to be con­grat­u­lated for the way they have looked af­ter their crop this year be­cause it is al­most fault­less.”

Most of the for­eign work­ers work­ing on the line are pack­ing cit­rus for the do­mes­tic mar­kets.

Nati Afaeki, a 26-year-old Ton­gan, said she was in Australia for six months to work in the pack­ing shed.

“I left my hus­band at home to look af­ter the fam­ily so I can come here to work,” Mrs Afaeki said.

“The hourly rate that I get paid is so much more than I could ever earn in Tonga and on Sun­days it is even bet­ter.”

The fruit is trans­ported to Mel­bourne, Syd­ney and Bris­bane.

PHOTO: NOEL THOMP­SON

PACK­ERS: Ge­or­gia Jensen, Buddy Al­li­son, Nati Afaeki, Leah Dal­pha, Shar­ron McDon­ald, Drew Al­li­son, Emma McDon­ald, Tracey War­rick and Harry Kim.

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