Bush inventors manufacturing ideas in Australia rather than taking them offshore

Bush inventors manufacturing ideas in Australia rather than taking them offshore

Bush inventors manufacturing ideas in Australia rather than taking them offshore

Updated 10 February 2018, 8:35 AEDT

Two Australian inventors are proving that you don't have to go offshore to turn ideas into a reality and are keeping their ideas in Australia, getting them made by local family businesses.

Two Australian inventors are proving that you don't have to go offshore to turn ideas into a reality.

Gary Briggs, from Dalby in south-west Queensland, is the brains behind an automated fencing machine.

The fencing machine is being manufactured out of the Dingo workshop in Dalby, the company Mr Briggs has been at the helm of for the past 25 years.

"It's quite amazing we're actually one of the biggest machinery manufacturers left in the country," he said.

"We have many apprentices, we do boilermaker and welder-type apprentices, fitters and turners, mechanical apprentices in the assembly of machines, we've got lots of jobs there, we need spare-parts people, we need warehouse people, all sorts of things."

The idea for the fencing system came to Mr Briggs after his own farm fencing was washed away in the Queensland floods of 2010-11.

It works by pre-threading the wires into specially designed H-shaped aluminium fence posts, which Mr Briggs has patented, and that are stacked side by side on the fencing machine.

"It's very interesting, our little fencing machine can be operated by one person, and in the case of lots of people in the bush it's often a man and a wife operation," he said.

"We can do a couple of kilometres in a couple of hours, which is unbelievable."

Over the past five years, Mr Briggs has been tweaking the design.

"The first machine was a really big machine, which is great for those really big properties in the far west but not so good for around the coastal areas where the paddocks are much smaller," he said.

"Now we've got the smaller machine and the bigger machine and we can do all fencing."

Mr Briggs says generating jobs in regional areas is one of the reasons why he's always looking for his next "big idea".

"Overseas manufacturing, even though it appears cheaper, by the time we get the quality into the product it's not that much cheaper. If you're going to use high-quality products out of the right countries in the world you really need to put it together in a high-quality way," he said.

"To me I'm Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. I really am proud of the fact that we're an Aussie manufacturer, based in an Aussie country town doing everything with Aussie staff — I love it."

Product proves inventions 'can be made in Australia'

Fellow inventor Del Richards, from Mossman in far north Queensland, is a kindred spirit.

He's thrilled that a floating bird island he invented to try and address the problem of birds drowning in cattle troughs is being manufactured out of a family business in Townsville.

"It's very important because you trust the people to make it and they make it to their standards, which are terrific," he said.

"Goughs Plastics make hundreds and hundreds of troughs and they've been in the game for a long, long time, so I was really happy that they embraced the idea when they did.

"They've been a great help to me otherwise this thing would not exist."

The idea for Mr Richards' invention came about after years of observing birds drowning in cattle troughs, and consequently cattle becoming sick as a result of drinking foul water.

"I've seen a lot of cattle unwell because of birds getting trapped in troughs," he said.

"It floats partly under the water so birds can drink in holes in the bird island itself.

"If it's set up properly it will do the job and give something for the birds to get on or drink off."

The chief executive of the company manufacturing the bird islands says it's created valuable work for the family business.

"They've gone as far afield as Western Australia, they've gone to the Northern Territory and into Victoria," Ian Gough said.

"It's a great product that's going well so far and we hope that for Del and for the birds, that it does go very well into the future.

"Everybody thinks you've got to get something made in China or Asia or offshore as they diplomatically say for things to be cost effective.

"This product proves that no, you don't have to get it made offshore, it can be made in Australia."

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