By Raquel Mustillo
PREMIER Steven Marshall has praised the efforts of Kimberly-Clark Australia Millicent Mill employees in producing almost half a billion toilet rolls in 2020 amid COVID-19 panic buying.
The state leader addressed employees at the facility’s 60th anniversary event on Tuesday, telling the crowd he was grateful for the continued production of toilet paper at the Millicent Mill.
“The country was relying on you guys to provide on extraordinary levels and of course, no stress there whatsoever for this workforce,” Mr Marshall said.
“We all got to know how important tissue was last year and I want to say thank you to every single person here who made sure the operation continued through what was a very difficult year for manufacturing right around the world.
“I am very grateful this operation was continuously operating during that very difficult period we had.”
Mr Marshall said the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the need for sovereign manufacturing capabilities in Australia.
“I genuinely believe we have got to make things in this country and I know the Prime Minister shares that sentiment very much,” he said.
Kimberly-Clark is a great manufacturer globally… [it] makes an enormous contribution to our national economy, but particularly here in Millicent.
“[The 60th anniversary] is a big celebration for Millicent, for the South East, and it’s a big celebration for us right across South Australia and quite frankly, right around the country.
Mr Marshall attributed the long-running success of the organisation to continuous investment in equipment and technology, quality product and product development and the 400-strong workforce at the Millicent production site.
“You have got product that is coming in from right around the world, you’ve got much cheaper, lower cost companies in countries you’ve got to compete with,” he said.
“The continuous investment the company makes, the focus on product development, the investment in people are the ways you have been able to remain not just competitive but actually thrive in an increasingly competitive global market.
“There are not that many manufacturing companies that have stood the test of time and have performed well in the past that perform well today.
“This is a company with a great past, it is a campy with a great future.
“It is the largest employer in the area and I think it is going to be the largest employer in the area for a long period of time.”
Kimberly-Clark Australia managing director Doug Cunningham said the site produced close to half a billion toilet rolls in 2020.
“Looking back over the last couple of years, it has been an interesting sort of ride, particularly the last 12 months.
“Never would we have thought we would be a national treasurer making toilet rolls, but toilet rolls this time last year were flying off the shelf.
“I had phone calls from every retailer, I had phone calls from ministers asking whether we were going to run out of pulp.
“The mill here did an amazing job and it is something we are very proud of.”