Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Life raft for Norco ice cream factory jobs

Celebrations are in full swing at the Norco Lismore ice cream factory today as 170 employees have been informed that a bespoke financial support package from the federal government will keep them employed by the dairy cooperative for another 10 weeks, enabling time for the completion and assessment of a grant application under the Anchor Business Support Program.

The welcomed news was delivered to staff the day prior to being stood down from their roles following the unprecedented flooding event that significantly impacted the factory, leaving it nonoperational for the foreseeable future.

The announcement follows consistent lobbying by the 100% farmer owned cooperative and other major Lismore businesses, calling on both the state and federal governments to do more and commit more funding to help Lismore businesses recover from the floods and in turn, safeguard jobs and support the wider community.

Immense optimism

Norco CEO Michael Hampson says it was exceptionally rewarding to be able to share the good news with staff yesterday.

“Norco, our farmers and especially our ice cream factory workforce are incredibly grateful for the federal government’s ongoing support, and we remain committed to working in partnership with both levels of government to help safeguard these jobs and ensure the future economic prosperity of the Northern Rivers region,” he says.

“This significant development fills us with immense optimism that our pleas for greater support for Lismore businesses – both small and large – and indeed the broader community, have been heard.

“And we do hope this represents the first step in delivering greater funding outcomes for the region in order to drive a business-led recovery,” he adds.

Securing the future

Along with other major businesses in region, Norco is currently preparing its application for the Anchor Business Support Program Grant, the outcomes of which they hope will be enough to secure the future of the ice cream facility, as well as the future employment of its hardworking and valued workforce beyond this additional 10 weeks.

“Norco is ready and our staff are ready. I have a renewed sense of optimism for the future of the facility and we look forward to the day we celebrate its reopening,” says Mr Hampson.

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