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Another $1.7 million boost to dairy communities in Victoria.



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AFFA03/108WT - 5 May 2003

Another $1.7 million boost to dairy communities in Victoria

Communities affected by deregulation of the dairy industry will receive an $8.6 million boost from the Government's Dairy Regional Assistance Program (Dairy RAP), Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss announced at the Dairy Industry Association of Australia conference in Melbourne today. Dairy regions in Victoria affected by dairy deregulation will receive $1.7 million.

The Minister said Dairy RAP, which is administered by the Department of Transport and Regional Services, was set up to stimulate investment and job growth in communities formerly dependent on the dairy industry and needing extra support due to deregulation.

Mr Truss said Dairy RAP provides direct assistance to rural Australians wanting to set up or expand new industries. The program also helps these people find markets to complement their new ventures, as well as diversify their skills base.

"Dairy RAP also attracts significant private investment to these communities," he said.

Mr Truss said the projects being funded in Victoria in this, the ninth and final Dairy RAP round, will help create real, long-term jobs and support around $12.5 million in private sector investment.

"All up, 11 projects, representing a diverse range of interests and dairy communities across the State, will receive funding," he said.

They include:

● $287,595 to assist in the development of a new tourist facility in the

Otway Ranges of Victoria. An elevated rainforest canopy walkway rising 45 metres above the forest floor will be constructed. Thirty full-time equivalent jobs will be created in the Colac Otway region; and ● $44,000 to help construct an automated, environmentally friendly

car wash/laundromat at Leongatha in the South Gippsland Shire of Victoria. The project will help create three full-time equivalent jobs."

Mr Truss acknowledged the contribution of the local Area Consultative Committees (ACCs) in helping applicants develop their funding proposals. The ACCs are comprised of community members who understand their local areas and have the expertise to turn a good idea into a funding proposal, providing employment and economic benefits.

He praised Dairy RAP's record of empowering local communities by backing their ideas, their initiatives and their vision for the future.

"The $65 million Dairy RAP program has funded 326 projects over its three-year life, helping to boost the economic and social wellbeing of communities across the country," he said. "It has also attracted private investment of over $221 million to those projects."

A small number of projects have been held in reserve should funding become available.

Victoria

Australian Specialty Pet Foods $251,900

Pyramid Hill

This project will expand a pet food factory at Pyramid Hill. The development will enable the proponent to expand into new and growing markets. Dairy RAP funds will go towards a new labelling machine, new cookers and an electronic batching system. Fifteen new jobs will be created in the Gannawarra region.

Contact: Ms Barbara Brooks, Central Victoria Area Consultative Committee Phone: 02 5442 8773

Electronic Herd Testing and Robotic Sorting System $74,800

Cohuna

This project will implement a state of the art, world class, high tech milk sorting/sampling system in Cohuna. The new system will allow farmers, regardless of shed type or technology levels to participate in the new technology. Dairy RAP funds will go towards hand held computer/scanning equipment which will assist in gathering, sorting, storing and transferring data. Five new jobs will be created in the region.

Contact: Mr Gerard Herrick, Central Murray Area Consultative Committee Phone: 03 5480 2353

South Gippsland's Ezyas Car Wash $44,000

Leongatha

This project will construct an automated car wash/laundromat facility in Leongatha. The environmentally friendly carwash will be connected to the sewerage system to ensure that waste water is treated. he project will create three full-time jobs in the region.

Contact: Ms Maree McPherson, Gippsland Area Consultative Committee Phone: 03 5175 0600

Forage Distribution Expansion $82,500

Lockington

This project involves the expansion of an existing fodder supply business in Lockington. Dairy RAP funds will go towards upgraded and purpose built equipment, such as silage wagons, which will allow higher volumes of fresh fodder to be delivered over a larger geographic area more regularly. Six new positions will be created in the Campaspe Shire.

Contact: Mr Gerard Herrick, Central Murray Area Consultative Committee Phone: 03 5480 2353

Isma Premises Expansion $302,500

Cobram

This project will assist with the expansion of a fruit packing facility at Cobram. Dairy RAP funds will permit the construction of a building that will enable the increased marketing of fruit and will enable the company to enter the fruit juice market. The project will result in 24 new jobs in the Moira Shire.

Contact: Mr Shane O'Brien, North East Victoria Area Consultative Committee Phone: 03 5831 1133

Otway Fly Canopy Walk $287,595

Otway Ranges

This project will assist in the development of a new major tourist facility in the Otway Ranges. It will feature an elevated rainforest canopy walkway rising to 45 metres above the forest floor. A high quality Visitor Centre and outdoor picnic areas will support the attractiveness of the area to the growing eco-tourism market, and will create 30 full-time equivalent jobs in the Colac-Otway region.

Contact: Mr Pat McAloon, Greater Green Triangle Area Consultative Committee Phone: 03 5352 3935

Plastic Factory Expansion $66,000

Mirboo North

This project will establish a new rotational plastic moulding manufacturing facility in Mirboo North. Dairy RAP funds will go towards building construction, enabling the company to provide such parts as road crash barriers and a wide range of food quality storage equipment to the domestic market. The expansion will result in eight new jobs in Mirboo North and significant industry diversification in the region.

Contact: Ms Maree McPherson, Gippsland Area Consultative

Committee Phone: 03 5175 0600

Radford's Abattoir Expansion $325,050

Warragul

This project will assist in the expansion of an abattoir in Warragul. A new, dual-purpose boning room for organic and "general" meat will be constructed, allowing the only certified organic livestock processor in Victoria to diversify into new markets. The capacity to expand and service new markets will result in 23 new jobs for the Gippsland region.

Contact: Ms Maree McPherson, Gippsland Area Consultative Committee Phone: 03 5175 0600

Approved Out of Round

Visy Board Factory in Wodonga $275,000

Wodonga

The project will assist in providing equipment for the establishment of a corrugated board packaging production facility in Wodonga. The facility will establish Wodonga as the key regional manufacturer of products for regional customers as well as servicing some of the growing Sydney and Melbourne markets. A regional plant will result in better service to regional areas and provide relief to the existing metropolitan plants, delivering 25 new jobs in the Albury Wodonga region.

Contact: Mr Ray Hortle, Albury Wodonga Area Consultative Committee Phone: 03 6041 6600

Further media inquiries:

Minister Truss' office: Tim Langmead - 02 6277 7520 or 0418 221 433