District industries receive $4M boost

Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson visited AKD Softwoods chief executive officer Shane Vicary to announce a $3.5-million grant for the business.

Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson visited AKD Softwoods chief executive officer Shane Vicary to announce a $3.5-million grant for the business.

COLAC businesses have received a boost after the Federal Government announced almost $4 million in grants to help create 40 new jobs for Colac and district.

Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson announced $3.5 million for AKD Softwoods and $384,467 for Irrewarra Sourdough.

The money is a part of the Geelong Regional Innovation and Investment Fund and will help create 20 new jobs at each Colac business.

The fund is a federal and state government $29.5-million package developed along with Ford Australia in response to Ford’s 2016 production closure.

Alcoa Australia expanded the fund in 2014 by contributing $5 million after its decision to close the Port Henry aluminium smelter.

AKD will use the grant money to go towards a $26.4-million investment project to update sawmill technology and upgrade the dry mill, improving productivity and recovery which will help the business’ international competitiveness.

Irrewarra Sourdough will use its grant towards a $926,000 project to help build a new facility at the businesses’ original site in Irrewarra.

The project will help the expansion of natural food manufacturing, including granola products through investment in innovation equipment and technology and internal plant for better productivity.

Ms Henderson said the announcement was good news for Colac and district and she was proud that the Colac businesses had performed well in the grant program.

“This is absolutely fantastic news for innovative Colac business which are doing so much to drive investment in local jobs and in advance manufacturing,” she said.

“This $11.2 million across the region will boost investment by $44 million because of the investment being made by the respective businesses.

“AKD have shown incredible vision with this investment and this state of the art facility will take AKD Softwoods from strength to strength.

“Similarly Irrewarra Sourdough is an extraordinary business and it’s wonderful to see the innovation occurring at Irrewarra and the new products.

“It is a great day for Colac when an important, local jobs fund can support businesses to grow and create more jobs for the region.”

Polwarth MP Richard Riordan said AKD had set a high benchmark as a community leader.

“I think people take it for granted but the business has really turned around, the place is buzzing and people are blown away at the level of professionalism,” Mr Riordan said.

“And it’s having natural flow on to the whole community. The funding is real win-win particularly for the people who work there,” he said.

“I also want to congratulate Irrewarra Sourdough, it’s a great business for Colac and the Calverts are committed to the area and investing in the community.

“The business provides great opportunities for the area and developing our image as a niche food producer.”

See Monday’s Colac Herald for more on the businesses projects.

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5 Responses to “District industries receive $4M boost”

  1. Phil Alexander

    Toyota wanted to keep manufacturing in Australia but needed Ford to stay so that the business’s that supplied both car makers could keep the cost of components down through economies of scale. As soon as Ford said they were shutting up shop Toyota had no choice but to follow suit.
    Why did Ford shut up shop? The car industry had always got financial assistance from successive Australian governments. Because the Aussie $ was trading so high it made it very difficult for Ford to compete against imported cars as imports became cheaper.
    it therefore, became essential that government assistance be maintained to help keep Ford viable in Australia. When Ford went to the Abbott Government to plead their case for more assistance Hockey and Abbott emphatically told them handouts were over. Hockey even and the temerity to goad them out of Australia. Ford unfortunately responded accordingly.
    Make no mistake,the demise of the car industry in Australia is down to this present Federal government.
    The tragic irony is that had the Coalition Government had continued the assistance Ford and Toyota not only would have stayed in Australia but would have been far more competitive into the future because the Aussie $ is now only just over 70cents US.
    The full ramifications of the diabolical decision of the Federal Liberal Government will be really felt in a couple of years time. Not only will car workers be forced onto the unemployed scrape heap but all those industries that supplied components to the car makers will cease to exist also.

    • Juggy

      Yeah, the whole knock on effect is going to hit bloody hard! ☹

  2. Jack

    @Phil, Nisan and Mitsubishi both left Australia under Labor, the reason why Ford have left is because people are not buying their cars,they continue to buy cheap imported cars from over seas

    • Juggy

      I was always of the belief that it was the Libs that lowered the tax on imports and the lower cost of offshore manufacturing that led to the demise of the Australian car industry.
      But people will always buy cheaper cars or other product, they want to save their money and don’t think about the knock on effect… just like people not shopping in their local towns, it leads to a lack of available products and\or higher prices.

  3. Phil Alexander

    Given that the government Sarah Henderson is a member has driven the car industry out of Australia with the subsequent loss of many thousands of jobs I would have thought this is the very least her government could do for the Geelong/Colac region.