16/11/2004 - 21:00

Slow but steady steps towards olive project

16/11/2004 - 21:00

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Slow but steady steps towards olive project

While Tony Fini might be 73 years old he is in no hurry to retire.  After selling his property development business to Mirvac in 2001 for $35 million, Mr Fini decided that he would build a tourism complex complete with olive oil production, rather than put his feet up.

When he told his kids of his new idea he said they thought he was crazy.

It would appear even more crazy that Mr Fini is in no hurry to complete his project, Fini Olives, but as an audience of more than 200 people heard at a WA Business News Success and Leadership breakfast last week, he is a big believer in knowing what you want and taking the right steps to get there.

“Vision to reality. I have a vision and I know what I want it to be and I know that will take time,” he said.

What Mr Fini wants to create is a destination that will attract day trip tourists and his vision is that Gingin will become known for its attractions just like Margaret River or the Swan Valley.

He intends to produce and sell one million litres of olive oil by 2014 and is also planning a range of facilities for the property including an amphitheatre, museum, art gallery, restaurant, and retail shop.

“People suggested I should retire and my children said I was crazy to do this but I remember Mussolini’s saying, ‘if you stop you are gone’,” he said. 

“We started it and I planted 1,000 acres and it is going well. There was a national olive conference recently and they had a field day to our place.

“Someone said we have a good plantation and I said we’ve always done the best so I want to do the best with olives.”

Mr Fini said he wasn’t worried about speculation that there could be an oversupply of oil because consumers around the world were beginning to understand differences in quality and would seek out high quality extra virgin olive oil.

“The world won’t be able to produce enough olive oil in 10 to 15 years time,” he said.

But while olive oil production is crucial to the business, Mr Fini’s focus is building a property that will cater to tourists.

“What Margaret River did with wine was very good but it’s 300 km from Perth. Gingin is one hour and a quarter drive so it’s good for a day trip.

“There’s lots going on in Gingin. In two years there will be a tavern and a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”

Mr Fini said his tourism complex would take at least six to eight years to develop.

And, getting the right team helped him build his property empire so it’s no surprise that he’s going through his network of business contacts, friends, and families to gain the right knowledge and skills to help his new venture.

“A friend of mine in Italy is an oil consultant and I will take a bottle for him to test, try and compare,” he said.

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