On the eve of impending stand downs, 170 employees at Norco's Lismore ice cream factory have been informed they will keep their jobs for at last another 10 weeks.
Norco CEO Michael Hampson had previously given July 15 as the deadline for more assistance if the business was to ensure the employment of up to 240 workers at its ice cream factory in South Lismore.
Today, it has been announced 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 announcement follows consistent lobbying by the 100 per cent 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," a spokesperson for the business said.
The Albanese Government will invest $2.7 million to help keep Lismore ice cream factory workers employed while the company develops a plan for long-term recovery.
Norco is one of the Northern Rivers' major employers, and remains completely non-operational.
Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said the support for Norco by the Federal Government will ensure the business can retain its staff to September 23.
"The extent of the direct damage the factory suffered in the floods means it's going to take Norco some time to put in place its longer-term recovery plans," Minister Watt said.
"This additional federal support will provide an appropriate amount of time for a longer-term solution for the future of Norco's Lismore ice cream factory and its workers to be identified and implemented.
"The conditions agreed to by Norco will mean workers receiving this payment will remain actively engaged in the Northern Rivers recovery, including through appropriate co-employment opportunities with other local businesses, to aid in the economic recovery."
Further support for flood-affected large businesses in the Northern Rivers is available through the Large Anchor Business Support Grant Package. This initial program of $44.3 million has been boosted by a $15 million contribution from the New South Wales Government, totalling $59.3 million available for local anchor businesses.
The package will provide financial assistance to help businesses that employ more than 200 people get back on their feet quickly, increase resilience to natural disasters and help people return to their jobs.
It is a joint initiative of the Australian and NSW Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, and comes on top of existing support for small and medium sized businesses.
Applications close on July 26. Further information is available at: Anchor Business Support Grant Program | NSW Government or call 1300 679 673 from 7am-7pm, Monday to Friday.
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