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Byron Shire
February 23, 2024

Cash splash for selected NR employers

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Deputy Premier Paul Toole at a recent press conference on the Northern Rivers, with local representatives.

Some of the Northern Rivers’ largest employers will get a leg up through funding from the Commonwealth and NSW Governments’ Anchor Business Support Grant Program.

The $59.3 million program is being funded by a $44.3 million commitment from the Commonwealth Government, with $15 million co-funding from the NSW Government. The program is being administered by the NSW Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Federal Minister for Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt said the program to get businesses back to normal operations as quickly as possible comes on top of additional support already provided to small and medium sized businesses in the region, and bespoke payments to keep workers connected with their employer.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt. Photo supplied.

‘Each of the businesses supported by the Anchor Business Support Grant Program help drive the Northern Rivers economy and backing them in returning to pre-flood operations helps the wider region recover as well,’ said Minister Watt.

‘The program will support clean up, repairs, rebuilding work, and help employers become more resilient when faced with future flood events.’

Minister says program will help 1,400 locals

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the funding would help keep jobs in the region and underpin the local economy for years to come.

‘These businesses genuinely are anchors of the region’s economy and combined employ nearly 1400 locals directly,’ said Mr Toole.

‘We want to do everything we possibly can to keep all businesses operating. That’s why we’re backing in the Small Business Northern Flood Grant from April, and the Northern Rivers Medium Size Business Grant from May, with today’s focus on large businesses because of the huge number of direct and indirect jobs they support right across the region.’

The Department of Regional NSW led the merit-based assessment of all applications against the published guidelines and assessment criteria. The following six businesses will be offered funding through the program:

  • Manildra Harwood Sugars (Sunshine Sugar) – $12,660,971
  • Social Futures – $899,360
  • Norco Co-operative Limited – $34,698,362
  • McKinlay Enterprises (North Coast Petroleum) – $4,050,368
  • Williams Group Australia – $3,676,834
  • Multitask Human Resource Foundation – $3,314,105

Critical time

Sunshine Sugar’s CEO Chris Connors said this funding is coming at a critical time as the business had incurred significant costs whilst maintaining full employment, impacting its ability to maintain grower payments.

‘This grant is going to mean we can bring those payments back to our normal standard and ensure our sustainability,’ said Mr Connors.

North Coast Petroleum Project Manager Phil Mallon said, ‘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.’

Tony Davies, CEO at Social Futures. Photo supplied.

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said they lost four offices in the Lismore floods, displacing 120 staff who provide vital services across the region. ‘Since then they have been in makeshift arrangements that limit our ability to provide face to face support.

‘This grant means that we can get back to work in an accessible location to ramp up our support for Lismore,’ said Mr Davies.

For a full list of all available support, visit nsw.gov.au/floods or call Service NSW 13 77 88.

For more information on the Anchor Business Support Grant Program, go here.

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