Manufacturing is a major activity in Port Stephens and accounts for 17% of employment. Manufacturing is focused in metal products – mainly the aluminium smelter, machinery and equipment and fabricated metal products and other manufacturing.
Tomago has developed as a location for metals and engineering operations and some associated logistics functions with most of the larger manufacturers located at Tomago. In addition to the smelter, Tomago contains a large share of businesses producing fabricated metal products, machinery and equipment and mineral products.
In other parts of Port Stephens, manufacturers are mainly small light industrial operations located in the various industrial estates, with concentrations of manufacturing businesses in Salamander Bay and Williamtown.
Much of the engineering capability is linked to the resources sector, manufacturing and servicing mining equipment, port equipment, transport equipment and construction products.
Recent development activity at Tomago includes the expansion of Ampcontrol, a new Westrac headquarters and the development of new facilities for Sandvik. The boom in the resources sector has seen major growth in a number of engineering companies, with associated growth in their employment numbers. Tomago Aluminium’s Smelter remains the largest regional employer with around 1350 employees and contractors and is located on a 500 hectare site.
Forgacs Shipyard at Tomago constructs both steel and aluminium hull vessels such as tugs, passenger craft and naval ships. Tomago has other sites with access to the river which makes it suitable for large boat building activity.
Many manufacturing businesses service a local and regional market and are sustained by population growth, housing construction and by business growth in the Lower Hunter Region. The major drivers of the sector are global demand for energy and metals and the rate of growth in infrastructure development in Australia. There are a number of supplier links through Port Stephens based engineering companies that are suppliers to the coal mining industry.
The future should see a continued expansion of engineering activity at Tomago, which is regarded as a good site for these industries.