The Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund is helping to grow herb producer Freshzest, by investing $40,000 into an expansion of the business.
In Pound Creek near Leongatha, Deputy Premier and Minster for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Freshzest expansion meant five new jobs and an extra $1.3 million a year in turnover for the company.
“We are proud to invest $40,000 from our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund towards this $240,000 project, with Freshzest providing the balance,” Mr Ryan said.
“The company will expand its cool room, packing facility and office; upgrade food handling and quality control, upgrade electrical infrastructure and relocate and expand staff amenities.
“The Coalition Government helped convince Freshzest to invest in South Gippsland in preference to the company’s other location in NSW.
“Freshzest estimates this expansion will create a further five jobs, boosting the company’s number of local employees to approximately 40.
“Freshzest has used local suppliers in construction, electrical, refrigeration and other trades to complete this expansion.”
Mr Ryan said the Regional Growth Fund continued to invest in community-led projects which helped to strengthen regional economies.
“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has invested more than $380 million to support over 1350 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging $1.55 billion in total investment.”
In South Gippsland Shire, the Regional Growth Fund has provided $13.1 million to 32 projects, leveraging about $59.3 million in total investment. Those projects include:
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* Volunteer Group of Wildlife Carers – Treatment of mange in wombats - $14,114;
* Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park – Mountain Ash Recovery project - $7,831; and
* Point Smythe Co-op – Cape Liptrap Coastal Park Banksia Woodland Restoration - $4,692.
Mr Ryan said it was important to recognise the contribution that local farmers made to Victoria’s economy and urged the community to support their efforts by visiting the Avenue of Agriculture this Saturday.
“Industries for Today and Tomorrow is designed to attract investment and assist regionally based businesses with high growth potential,” Mr Ryan said
Victorian Coalition Government support will contribute to Kagome Australia’s $21 million expansion plans that will create 20 new jobs for Victorians.
Acting Premier and Minister for State Development, Peter Ryan, said the expansion would see a new wastewater treatment plant, a carrot concentrate production line and a new pouch packaging facility.
“This investment will improve Kagome Australia’s competiveness against foreign imports and allow the company to replace those with Victorian produce,” Mr Ryan said.
“Kagome Australia estimates it will be able replace 7,000 tonnes of imported tomato paste, worth about $6.5 million, after its upgrades.”
The Coalition Government gave Kagome significant financial assistance to ensure the investments in Victorian agriculture became reality at Australia’s only tomato processor.
The wastewater treatment plant will improve the productivity and environmental sustainability of Kagome’s operations, while the carrot concentrate production line will allow Kagome to produce a new counter seasonal product line.
The food service line will produce pouch packages as the company continues to innovate.
Mr Ryan said Kagome Australia, which purchased Echuca-based Cedenco in 2010 to secure Australia’s last tomato processor, was a strong contributor to the Victorian economy.
“Kagome Australia already provides 45 jobs for rural Victorians, and their expansion will create a further 20 jobs,” Mr Ryan said.
“The company also employs about an additional 300 people during its peak season from January through April.”
CEO of Kagome Australia, John Brady, said that this series of investments will deliver a vertically integrated company, the first affiliate of the Kagome Group world-wide.
“We are excited with the prospect of being Paddock to Plate capable. We harvest more than 2,500Ha in Victoria and are proud to partner with local tomato growers and land-owners,” Mr Brady said.
“The Kagome Group chose Victoria because of its capabilities and reputation of being one of the best safe food suppliers in the world.”
Mr Ryan said that investment attraction, promotion and facilitation were key priorities for the Victorian Coalition Government.
“The Coalition Government provides specialist advice on the development approvals process, statutory approvals coordination, site location services, advice on infrastructure and utility requirements and advice on the Victorian investment climate,” Mr Ryan said.
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Commonwealth Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan today announced additional assistance for farmers in the Greens Creek area hit by the severe weather event in December 2011.
Mr Keenan said Category C Clean-up and Restoration Grants of up to $10,000 would be made available to eligible farmers located north and north-east of Stawell, within the general Greens Creek area.
“The Commonwealth Government is pleased to offer these grants to the Greens Creek farming community”, Mr Keenan said.
Member for Mallee Andrew Broad welcomed the funding.
“Extending these grants to the Greens Creek community shows how the new Commonwealth Government and Victorian Coalition Government are working closely together for the benefit of regional communities impacted by natural disaster,” Mr Broad said.
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was pleased the Greens Creek area was finally eligible to receive this much needed assistance.
“The Greens Creek area had previously been refused access to Category C Clean-up and Restoration Grants due to an anomaly which meant financial assistance was awarded on the basis of eligible postcodes,” Mr Ryan said.
“A number of affected properties in the Greens Creek area fell outside of these eligible postcodes, which meant funding was withheld. I thank Western Victorian upper house MP David O’Brien for his tireless advocacy on this issue, which has now produced results for this community.”
Mr O’Brien thanked the Federal Coalition Government for taking a compassionate approach to the issue.
“Despite numerous requests to the former Federal Labor Government to overturn this anomaly, it was not rectified and funding continued to be withheld,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I am pleased the new Federal Coalition Government has rectified this anomaly, with clean-up and restoration funding now available to affected properties and businesses in the Greens Creek area.”
Mr Keenan and Mr Ryan also announced that the deadline for claims for assistance from farmers hit by severe weather events in Victoria in December 2011, February–March 2012 and June 2012 had been extended to 31 March 2014.
“The Commonwealth and Victorian governments are committed to assessing the continued impacts of past events on the communities affected, and to identifying further recovery assistance that may be required,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said further information on the Category C Grants for primary producers, including eligibility criteria, was available on the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria website at www.ruralfinance.com.au.
Mr Keenan said further information on Australian Government assistance available at www.disasterassist.gov.au.