After severe damage to Norco's Lismore manufacturing hub, the farmer owned co-op has rebuilt its ice-cream factory and its products are back on the shelf.
The rebuild has been a part of an 18-month recovery process that has cost more than $100M, and has helped secure 130 jobs.
The opening signals a major step forward in Lismore's post-flood recovery.
The Norco ice cream factory produces approximately 42 million litres of ice cream per year, and it has become synonymous with the town of Lismore.
The rebuild was made possible through more than $40 million in Australian and NSW Government funding, and it features a flood-proof design, built to defend a 15 metre flood.
Michael Hampson, Norco Chief Executive Officer said he is proud to be able to celebrate this important milestone with team members, the community and many of the people who helped make the rebuild a reality.
"Today is indeed a rewarding day for our co-operative and I'd first like to thank our incredible Norco workforce who have worked tirelessly on all facets of this rebuild over the past twelve months, from commercial to construction and manufacturing, as well as the dedicated team members we're delighted to have welcomed back to work over the past couple of months."
Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, congratulated the Norco team and said the reopening was a significant milestone on the road to recovery in the Northern Rivers.
"Norco is one of the region's biggest employers, and seeing the doors reopen will be a big boost for the community," Minister Watt said.
As the town inches closer to exceeding its pre-disaster occupancy rates of 90.2 per cent, Lismore Mayor, Steve Krieg said the data is a clear demonstration of business confidence in the future of Lismore, confidence that will only be boosted by the reopening of the Norco ice cream factory.
"Today is a great day for Norco, its workforce, our community and the many small and medium businesses in the region who will ultimately benefit from this facility being back up and running, stronger and better than ever," Cr Krieg said.
"The spirit of Lismore is as strong as ever, and like so many of our rebuild and recovery stories, today's celebration is proof that from tragedy can come triumph, while sending a very clear signal that Lismore is well and truly back in business."
A signal of hope for battling dairy farmers. As Australia's last operating dairy co-operative, the reopening is also welcomed news for Norco's 273 farmer members, many of whom are still working to rebuild following the floods.