Norco workers were thrown a lifeline today with a bespoke $2.7 million package from the Federal Government, but what exactly does that mean?
For Norco maintenance worker Nick Meyers, and his colleagues, it means he does not have to worry about his immediate future.
"I can support my family. I love working at Norco, I'm very happy," Mr Meyers said.
Norco CEO Michael Hampson said the payment was separate to the Anchor Business Support Grant Package, but would allow them to keep their workers employed while they applied for the grant and rebuilt the factory.
It was not known how long the factory will take to fully reopen, but Mr Hampson said the workers will still have plenty of work to do.
As part of the special deal, Norco workers will continue to help in Lismore's recovery effort, as well as fill vacancies at other businesses in town until the factory is up and running again.
Mr Meyers said the workers have not been idle.
"We've been busy - helping the community, stripping out houses, getting rid of mud. We're definitely not sitting at home. We'll be busy again now, there's plenty of work to do," he said.
The package secures the jobs of 170 Norco workers, with some of the 240 employees already choosing to leave to pursue other work.
Mr Hampson said they hoped to retain all staff beyond September 23, but that hinged on what support was available.
"It really does depend on outcome of Anchor Business Support Program. Our application certainly will have various scenarios in that and one of those will certainly be to retain all of staff. But it will depend on the outcome of that application process and indeed the funding the government puts into that package, which again, we've been advocating quite strongly that needs to be $100 million. Those answers will come at the end of that period," Mr Hampson said.
Applications close for the Anchor Business Support Grant Package on July 26 and it is believed it will take a least a month for the applications to be processed.
When asked whether the factory should be rebuilt beside the river in South Lismore, Mr Hampson said the ice cream factory was staying at the site, but the rebuild would have to factor in flood mitigation measures.
He said the factory had been able to withstand the 1974 flood height, but now, there was a new flood level to contend with.
Norco hoped to have at least two new production lines up and running at the site as soon as Christmas, but it would take longer for the entire factory to be operational.
Mr Hampson said Norco's business partners had been understanding and supportive while the factory has been closed and he was confident of retaining contracts based on the reputation of the product it supplies.
"Norco makes the best ice cream in the country. Our key partners have been understanding of a number of things - one is the devastating flood event and the impact on us."
He said their ability to provide a good quality product, at a good price provided motivation for partners to keep coming back.
Mr Hampson said Norco had already increased the price they pay farmers on July 1, and the increase in price seen at the supermarket was needed to help with rising costs and pressures.
"Inflation was needed to keep farmers in the game and for them to feel confident that their product is valued in the market place."
Meanwhile, Norco workers were back on site, welcoming the news of a reprieve with a BBQ, a brisket cook-off, a drink or two, and perhaps, an ice cream.