Cassowary Coast Regional Councillors and CEO recently met with local fisherman turned innovator Tom Long at his Kurrimine Beach premises.

TomKat Global Solutions is seeking a new home on the Cassowary Coast to house its growing manufacturing operations with plans to generate up to 26 local jobs.

Husband and wife team, Tom and Kath Long, started their local business as a solution to deliver wild line-caught fish, sustainably and in premium condition, but has since revolutionised the packaging of temperature-sensitive and perishable products.

Mr Long said every year over half a billion polystyrene boxes, of which 90% are single use, are used by the seafood industry alone - that's enough to circumnavigate our planet 6.5 times.

“We own a sustainable wild line fishing company, so we needed to find a more environmentally responsible solution to the single-use polystyrene boxes - When we couldn't find an appropriate alternative, we invented our own.”

Developed to be fully reusable and recyclable, every box has inbuilt traceability and temperature sensing.

“It’s thermally efficient, stackable, trackable and durable and best of all it can be used multiple times and recycled at the end of its life. 

The KoolPak responsible packaging system sets a new bench mark in the transportation of temperature sensitive and perishable produce worldwide, putting TomKat and the Cassowary Coast in the global spotlight. 

“With this level of technology, not only can you prove the provenance of your product, we are providing users with the opportunity to scan off their KoolPaks post-use at an authorised recycling centre, so you can validate your environmental credentials.

“We’ve established a manufacturing site in Kurrimine Beach where we have the capacity to produce 1,000 units per week. Our goal is to produce 23 million units a year in 2024.

“To achieve this, we have invested in further manufacturing equipment to increase our capacity and are currently building a 1000 tonne press which will see our outputs increase by up to 2 million units

“Six meters tall and weighing 70 tonnes – it’s a pretty big piece of machinery, and it’s proudly built entirely in North Queensland.

“The sheer size of the new machinery and operations means we are very quickly out growing our premises in Kurrimine Beach. It has always been our intention to keep manufacturing on the Cassowary Coast.

“Once up and running, we will duplicate the production line to increase output and meet the 2024 goal.” Said Mr Long.

Mayor Mark Nolan, who has recently taken on the portfolio for Planning and Regional Development, said Council’s Business Liaison Coordinator is working closely with the business to assist in finding a suitable location for the new manufacturing site.

“Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Our region currently supports a nationally significant food production industry as the home to about 80% of Australia’s banana industry, and we are a significant contributor to the production of sugar and a recognised premier growing region for tropical fruits and vegetables, cattle and fisheries.”

“With all of these industries in one place, it’s no wonder Cassowary Coast is the birthplace of such innovation.”

Cr Nolan said Council is committed to the growth of existing and development of new small businesses across the region.

“Small businesses are the heart of our small towns, helping to shape our community and drive our economy. That’s why we recently signed the Small Business Friendly Charter, pledging to support small businesses through facilitating better communication, engagement and explanation of documentation.”

Over 3,000 small businesses like TomKat Global Solutions will benefit from the charter through support, resources and additional tools available.

For more information about the Small Business Friendly Charter contact Council on 1300 763 903.

Photo caption: Tom and Kath Long from TomKat Global Solutions.