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$2.2 million federal funding for dairy communities.



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HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

17 October 2000 AFFA00/191WT

$2.2 MILLION FEDERAL FUNDING FOR DAIRY COMMUNITIES

The Federal Coalition Government today announced funding of nearly $2.2 million in the first round of its Dairy Regional Assistance Program (Dairy RAP).

Twenty-four projects aimed at creating jobs and providing other benefits to dairy communities across Australia will be supported, the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, announced.

Speaking in Bega, Mr Truss said Dairy RAP provides assistance to local communities dependent on the dairy industry that have been significantly affected by the State’s decision to deregulate the industry.

The projects have been developed by the communities themselves and endorsed by local Area Consultative Committees.

"This first round of projects under Dairy RAP involves businesses and non-profit organisations receiving funding for a range of job creation activities," Mr Truss said.

"Funding will also be made available for business, financial and social counselling services.

"The 24 projects have considerable community support, and represent tangible proof of the Coalition Government's commitment to working with dairy communities during the crucial transition period of industry deregulation," he said.

"The substantial commitment and financial contributions from other government sources, local industry and business demonstrates the importance of all stakeholders working together to revitalise dairy areas.

"Dairy RAP projects have been developed at the grassroots by dairy communities. The Government is listening to local businesses and community leaders about the requirements for towns seeking to find new industry developments."

Details of some of the projects announced today are included below. The full list of the 24 projects approved is available on the Dairy RAP web site at http://www.acc.gov.au/DairyRAP

There are 34 Area Consultative Committees in dairy regions across Australia. Applications for the second round of funding closed last Friday.

Further inquiries:

Minister's office: Andrew Hall (02) 6277 7520 or 0419 996 766

EXAMPLES OF FIRST-ROUND DAIRY RAP PROJECTS $660,645 to assist the Bega Cheese Cooperative install and commission a new shredded cheese and mozzarella processing line at their Ridge Street plant in Bega, NSW. This will immediately generate 11 new full-time jobs and it is expected that within a year a further 12 full-time jobs will be created. The cheese shredding equipment will also be installed using local contractors providing much needed income opportunities for local businesses.

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$88,442 to provide an opportunity for dairy farmers affected by deregulation in the Kingaroy and surrounding areas of Queensland's South Burnett region to diversify into pig farming by upgrading the water supply to Swickers Kingaroy Bacon Factory. Swickers recently upgraded the facilities at their Kingaroy abattoir and plan further extensions and improvements. This will provide much-needed job and income opportunities for former dairy farmers/workers in a region where openings are severely limited. Swickers will contract out pig raising to former dairy farmers in 'envirosheds' to ensure a steady supply of product to meet export contracts.

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$66,000 to develop a strategic plan to investigate the viability of producing medicinal herbs in northern NSW, the New England region and the mid-north coast of NSW with the aim of replacing imports. ●

Marketing possibilities for new growers will also be investigated and information distributed to dairy and other farmers, via seminars, local market days and the NSW Department of Agriculture.

$27,500 to help dairy farmers in NSW's Hunter region identify emerging agribusiness crops and/or processes, their growing requirements and market opportunities. The information will provide the region with a pathway for developing and funding its agribusiness sector and will also provide farmers with a knowledge base for future investment and diversification decisions.

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$103,427 to employ a community support worker based at Monto to provide a support service in the Monto, Mundubbera, Banana and Calliope Shires in southeast Queensland. The service will use a case management approach, and help dairy farmers gain access to financial assistance, crisis counselling, referrals regarding business stabilisation and community development as well as other support and information. The service's main priorities will be to help alleviate the personal and psychological problems associated with dairy industry deregulation and encourage sound decision-making and a positive attitude towards change.

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$147,070 for a business and financial planner service for dairy families and communities in the South West, Peel and Great Southern regions of Western Australia. The service will make use of innovative delivery methods to ensure it benefits people with special cultural, language or literacy needs.

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$98,334 to allow the South Gippsland Farmers Support Group and the Gippsland Rural and Regional Counselling Service in Victoria to employ a full-time counsellor. This will help meet an increase in demand for financial counselling services from farmers, small businesses and communities affected by dairy deregulation. The new counsellor will work from offices in Leongatha, Ellinbank, Barinsdale and Maffra.

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$9,130 to examine the feasibility of establishing a boutique cheese factory at Bordertown in the Tatiara area of South Australia’s southeast. The project will examine the factory's financial viability, as well as associated marketing, technical and economic issues. If deemed viable, the factory would become an important tourist feature in a key stopover area for interstate travellers. It would also showcase a wide range of local products, including dairy produce, wine, olives and flowers.

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Last updated 20 October 2000 URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ Commonwealth of Australia 2000