The road to recovery for Swickers

AFTER: Swickers Bacon Factory today.
AFTER: Swickers Bacon Factory today. Katherine Morris

SWICKERS Bacon Factory should be back to its full operation in the new boning room by November 20.

Although Swickers general manager of operations Linchon Hawks has aspirations to be back on the anniversary of the fire on November 6.

When a light in the boning room caused a fire, there was nothing that could be salvaged from the building.

"There is no one business that hasn't been affected by what we had on site on November 6, we do understand the impact it's had,” Mr Hawks said.


BEFORE: Swickers fire on November 6, 2016.
BEFORE: Swickers fire on November 6, 2016. Denise Keelan 2016

Within seven months, Swickers had built a temporary boning room and new chillers to get staff back to Kingaroy faster while the new boning room was being built.

"We had our hurdles, our plan was we had a date in mind that we wanted to be back,” Mr Hawks said.

The size of the new boning room may be the same as it was before, however the new building has a high roof to allow for another level.

Swickers has also taken on a ham project and will produce 2.5 million kilos of ham this year.

But what's next for Swickers is the most exciting part, Mr Hawks said.

The next stage is a new slaughter floor.

Mr Hawks will travel to Germany, Belgium and Denmark next month to finalise plans and equipment for the new project.

"The exciting part of this in the whole journey is that we are going to end up with a remarkable facility and one of the best in Australia,” he said.

When the fire happened Swickers had about 549 employees. In August 2017, there were 716.

"The pork industry is growing, we see in November 2018 22,000 pigs need to be processed, currently there are 19,000- 19,5000,” Mr Hawks said.

"We are at capacity. If we don't grow and support that, what we'll do is invite another abattoir into market. We have to stay ahead of the game.”

South Burnett

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