Mildura-based GTS Freight Management Pty Ltd will build its new national headquarters in Mildura.

This, the company says, reinforces its commitment to investment in our region − something that is at the heart of managing director Damien Matthews’ future plans.

The more than $4 million head office project is expected to generate more than 50 new jobs, and will spearhead an estimated billion-dollar investment by GTS over the next decade, providing a huge economic boost for Sunraysia.

Work is scheduled to begin later this year.

Mr Matthews said that his company is planning to make a significant investment in the region in the coming years.

“Our growth and spend in this region in the next 10 years will be in the order of a billion dollars and that’s a conservative estimate,” he said.

“Due to the ongoing growth of our business, we’ve now expanded from a regionally based wine and glass carrier to a major carrier to the national supermarket supply chain, as well as continuing to service the wine and beverage industry.
“We’ve grown to having 10 per cent of our volume being generated in the Sunraysia region and 90 per cent around our operations in every capital city of Australia, except Darwin.
“We’re expanding in all other states, but we’ve made a recent decision, with some incentive from the Victorian Government, to build the head office here in Mildura and to keep it here long term.
“It will enable us to stimulate the economy in this region and create a minimum of 50 new jobs.”

The new head office will be built on the site of GTS’s huge warehousing facility located on the corner of Benetook Avenue and Fourteenth Street, adjacent to the company’s administration offices and transport depot.

Mr Matthews said that apart from its Mildura footprint, GTS also has other depots and alliances, together with a substantial amount of equipment and infrastructure, spread around the country.

“While we have to keep on building in other locations, our head office is here in Mildura to stay,” he said.

“GTS has operations based in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and soon also in the Northern Territory
“The senior leadership team is based in Mildura, with some in other cities, but the backbone of the senior leadership team is locally based.”

GTS is currently loading more than 500 trailers a day around the country and their logistics group has certainly had its work cut out dealing with the complexities COVID has placed in the company’s way, something Mr Matthews said had been challenging.

“COVID has made it a lot more challenging for us with the borders opening and closing,” he said.

“The added administration and needing to have the right documentation to get through borders complicates things, but we have managed that.
“GTS is a big employer and together with the full-time contractors, the company employs more than 300 people and growing.”

Joining Mr Matthews when he spoke to the ‘Weekly, was Mildura Regional Development’s chair, Geoff Thomson and CEO, Brett Millington.

Mr Thomson said that the GTS’ decision was an example of how business and industry can decentralise and build in the regions.

“The company had the option to go to a capital city − Adelaide was very keen to have them there − but this decision illustrates Damien’s commitment to Mildura and it’s a real-life example of a truly national company being based in the region, something Mildura Regional Development can showcase to other companies considering decentralisation,” he said.

Mr Millington added that knowing the value of what GTS already brings to this region, to see it making a further commitment to headquarter its national operations in Mildura was exciting.

“This investment is going to bring enormous spin-off benefits to Mildura, both in terms of being a great employer, but also for what it does for the profile of this region and the attraction to professionals and the broader opportunities it creates for taking product from our region and transporting it around Australia and around the world as well,” he said.

“What makes the attractiveness for people to come to this region, in addition to the lifestyle, is the employment opportunities that a company like GTS can provide.”

GTS’ Chief Financial Officer, Ben Chatfield said that being based in Mildura means that 90 per cent of the company’s spend with be injected into the local economy.

“Whether it’s trucks, tyres, fuel, wages − the list goes on − and that’s a really positive thing for this region,” he said.

“And because we are a national carrier, we’re not necessarily subject to what goes on in the horticultural sector in any particular season here, because we are moving freight all across the country, keeping people employed.
“I think it’s a really good industry to have in Mildura, which is not necessarily tied up to all of the other industries, but rather compliments them and gives strength to the region.”

Mr Chatfield said that the company had to make the decision whether to move the office to Adelaide or stay in Mildura.

“We are developing a new depot in SA and so we had to make the decision on how big we would build that and what resources we’d put in there but ultimately we decided to that it was better for GTS and importantly for the region, to base the company here,” he said.

“The reality is, Damien is a big advocate for Sunraysia − it’s where he lives and he has a big commitment and involvement with the community and he wanted to be here.”

Mr Matthews added that the scope of jobs available from their company is very expansive.

“They range from truck drivers and accountants, to safety and compliance, mechanics, tyre fitters, sales people, warehousing, fork lift operators and human resources,” he said.

Mr Matthews’ love of Sunraysia and what the region has given him is at the core of his company’s commitment and support for the community, something he is proud of.

“We like to put so much back into the community by supporting many sporting clubs, including football, speedway and ski racing and schools, as well as many other organisations, which is important to me and our company as a whole,” he said.

“In addition to that, I want to create as many jobs as I can for the region.”