Geelong to become abalone processing heartland

2014-04-02 01:47:08 | Al Muslim News
Geelong to become abalone processing heartland

 

The Geelong region’s transformation to being home to the industries of the future is being assisted by a new $1 million state-of-the-art seafood processing facility that will help the Bellarine Peninsula become Victoria’s aquaculture production hub. The new facility is being supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments and Ford Australia, through a $377,388 grant from the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund (GRIIF) to abalone farmer and processor, Great Southern Waters. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Bob Baldwin; Federal Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson; and State Member, David Koch, visited Great Southern Waters to announce the funding. Mr Baldwin said the project would enable Great Southern Waters to invest in the region’s first aquaculture processing facility so that it could diversify its product range to meet a growing demand for high-end retail branded and ready-to-eat abalone products in Asia. “This project is a great example of a company that has seen an opportunity to expand its market and is investing its own resources and money to be able to meet that opportunity,” Mr Baldwin said. “This project will not only create jobs; it is a strategic investment that will provide the opportunity for capacity building and value-adding to meet new, expanding markets – especially for the maturing Asian market. It will also place Geelong in an ideal position to be the Victorian hub for aquaculture production.” Ms Henderson said the Australian and Victorian Governments and Ford Australia had been working together to support new investments to ensure a vibrant future for Geelong. “Projects like these are building the capacity of local businesses to take advantage of new opportunities. By investing in state-of-the-art equipment, they are investing in their future, and creating important new opportunities for the people of Geelong,” she said. “This project will help Great Southern Waters grow and expand into new markets, particularly in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and China.” State Member for Western Victoria, David Koch, said former automotive factory workers would be well-placed to be among those employed at the facility. “This investment is expected to create eight full time jobs by June 2016, increasing to 15 by 2017-18, and former Ford and automotive supply chain workers with factory experience will be in a good position to be among those employed at the expanded facility due to their manufacturing experience.” Ford Australia’s President, Bob Graziano, said the project was an example of how the GRIIF was developing and diversifying manufacturing in the region. “Ford is absolutely committed to transforming its Australian business, including supporting all employees directly affected by our changes. Many of the jobs to be created will be suitable for skilled workers from the automotive sector, and contribute to the ongoing development and diversification of manufacturing capabilities in Geelong,” he said. The Funds are competitive, merit-based grants programs, and are based on a tripartite agreement between the Australian Government, the Victorian Government and Ford Australia. The Australian Government contributed $30 million; the Victorian Government $9 million; and Ford Australia $10 million. Of the total $49 million in funding, $24.5 million has been made available to the GRIIF and $24.5 million to Melbourne’s North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF)..

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