Lismore City News
Saturday, 2 December 2023

The Anchor Business Support Package has allocated $60M to six businesses on the Northern Rivers

David Kirkpatrick
Updated September 14 2022 - 9:19am, first published September 13 2022 - 9:01am

Six of the Northern Rivers' largest "anchor" businesses will share in close to $60 million to help with their flood recovery - but there's a catch.

The Anchor Business Support Package will be jointly funded by the Federal and NSW governments.

Emergency Management Minister Senator Murray Watt tours the sugar mill at Broadwater, one of the 'anchor' businesses to receive support.
Emergency Management Minister Senator Murray Watt tours the sugar mill at Broadwater, one of the 'anchor' businesses to receive support.

The split is around $45 million from the Feds and $15 million from the State Government

The money will help save around 1400 jobs in the flood devastated region.

The catch, according to Emergency Management Minister Senator Murray Watt, is that businesses are expected to build back better, not the same.

"This program is all about making sure we just don't repair things, but we want to make sure this region is more resilient for the future," he said.

"Because, whether we like it or not, with climate change and other things, we are going to be seeing more floods and more intense weather in the future.

"What we need to do, especially when we are using taxpayers' money, is make sure that facilities and homes are built back in a way they are able to stand up to future events as well."

Norco will get the lion's share of the funding ($34 million), Manildra Harwood Sugars ($12 million), North Coast Petroleum ($4 million), Williams Group Australia ($3.6 million), Multitask Human Resources Foundation ($3.3 million) and Social Futures ($899,360).

Sunshine Sugar CEO Chris Connors said this funding came at a critical time as the business had incurred significant costs during the flood an aftermath.

"There were plenty of people telling us we were never going to get started again, that we were going to shut the mill and sometimes that doesn't do much for you and sometimes it does," he said.

"We have always looked at it and said 'hey, we have got a job to do here' and we got on an did it.

"I have to say I really appreciate the grant. It really is important to us. Like I said, we got on with it, but we spent a lot of money getting on with it.

"I've had some bankers asking me questions, I can tell you."

Tony Davies, of Social Futures, said the flood had had a devastating impact on the organisation with four offices inundated.

"What this enables us to do is to get going as soon as possible," he said.

North Coast Petroleum Project Manager Phil Mallon said this was a big win for the businesses.

"Securing funding through the Anchor Business Support Program will ensure our continued growth is focused on the Northern Rivers for the benefit of the people that work in our business along with all the people and businesses in our community," Mr Mallon said.

David Kirkpatrick

I'm a media professional with over 34 years of experience in public relations and journalism, including a decade setting Lismore's news agenda as the editor of The Northern Star. I have proven track record in growing audiences and improving engagement by delivering quality local stories for and about the Lismore community.