Gladstone’s Austicks shuts for good, 51 workers left jobless

STICKS STOPPED: Austicks ice cream stick factory in Gladstone has ceased production.
STICKS STOPPED: Austicks ice cream stick factory in Gladstone has ceased production. Brenda Strong GLALIFE

GLADSTONE manufacturing success story Austicks has ceased production, leaving more than 50 staff out of work.

Instead, the multi-million dollar company will source ice cream sticks from France.

Austicks accountant Madeleine Spry said the Bassett St factory shut down its operations late last month, blaming labour costs, and the high Australian dollar.

It previously pumped out 1.5 billion sticks a year.

"It's very, very sad - the cost of manufacturing in Australia, just goes up and up and up," Ms Spry said.

Ms Spry said the owners of the family company were "totally devastated".

The company will keep just two staff in Gladstone, while the factory site will be leased.

Manufacturing equipment has already been sold to an offshore buyer.

Ms Spry said the company had struggled to attract tradesmen, due to wage competition from big industry in town.

She also blamed the spiralling cost of WorkCover and the Australian dollar.

"It's crashing now, but about 18 months (ago) we lost an overseas customer just because of the cost of the dollar," she said.

About 30 staff are still working to package existing stock, but Ms Spry said all work would end in October.

The factory previously had an operating staff of 53, and Ms Spry said some workers had been there for more than 20 years.

Redundancy payouts have been made.

Austicks was Australia's only ice cream stick factory.

Gladstone Regional Council mayor Gail Sellers said the decision was "sad news".

Austicks

  • Operating for 21 years
  • At its peak, produced 1.5 billion ice cream sticks a year
  • Employed 53 staff in Gladstone - all but two made redundant

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