The Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan MP this morning announced that Norco Co-operative Limited is the successful recipient of funding under the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), an initiative of the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.
The Government will provide $14.96 million of funding under this program, with Norco to match the Government’s contribution dollar for dollar. Norco’s application for funding to the RGF was based on the expansion and upgrade of the Lismore Ice Cream Business Unit so that it has the capacity to move to a 100 million litre production facility from the present 55 million litres annual throughput.
Norco Chairman and Interim CEO, Greg McNamara is understandably very appreciative of the Federal Government’s announced funding as it will enable the Co-operative to invest in infrastructure to increase production capability which will create both direct and indirect employment opportunities during and post construction.
“The announcement of this funding is a real boost for Norco and for the economic wellbeing of our region. This good news is certainly welcome for our owners who are our dairy farmers, given the battles we are presently having with the drought and also the well-publicised issues relating to the Australian Dairy Industry and milk pricing generally.
It is anticipated that once this project is completed we will have a much more resilient business, being able to service a more diverse range of customers, and of course, this will include chasing more lucrative export business. This funding will allow Norco to invest in equipment that will put us at the cutting edge of ice cream manufacture and which will improve our innovative capabilities.
Once we realise the full potential of this ICBU project, our primary aim will be to ensure business profitability significantly increases so that our Members are rewarded. We want our Members to have the confidence and ability to invest in their businesses going forward for the long term future of the dairy industry.”
Some of the projects that will come to fruition under this funding include installing specialised equipment such as a fully robotic palletising system, automate the packing finished product and building a new two storey building to house spiral freezer tunnels.
Given that the basis of the funding application is that Norco will match the Government’s funding dollar for dollar, Mr McNamara has also confirmed that the Co-operative has the full support of Rabobank.
“Norco has a great relationship with Rabobank and they were involved very early on as part of this process, so we know we can count on their funding support”, Mr McNamara said.
Norco would like to sincerely thank all levels of Government and Regional Development Australia, all of whom provided their support when Norco was making the RGF application.