Sugar mill progresses with long-awaited $12 million grant I Australian Rural & Regional News

After six months of silence, the steam from the chimneys of the sugar mills hits against a clear sky before quietly dissolving into the blue. It is a welcome and familiar sight for the residents of the small riverside village.

Finally, the cane is crushed again and back to work at Sunshine Sugar in Broadwater.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt announced more than $12 million in flood recovery funding for Sunshine Sugar.

It took a long time for a decision to be made on how the money would be distributed among major businesses in areas affected by the Northern Rivers floods.

Norco will receive over $34 million.

The federal government has contributed $45 million and $15 million is from the state government for the Anchor Business Support Grant Program.

The funding will support nearly 1,400 full-time jobs in the Northern Rivers region. Sunshine Sugar general manager Chris Connors said the funding came at a critical time.

Over the past six months, the sugar company has had significant costs to maintain full employment. This has impacted the company’s ability to maintain payments to producers.

“This grant is going to mean that we can bring those payments back to our normal level and ensure our sustainability,” Mr Connors said.

Floods from February to March brought almost three meters of water through the mill, leaving behind a scene of chaos and devastation. Many local sugar cane growers and factory workers in the area lost their homes, crops, livestock and machinery, Mr Connors said.

“The delivery of the first load of cane and the start of crushing for the first time this year (in August) is an important step and a positive step towards the recovery not only of the local sugar industry, but also of all local businesses. and communities involved in the farming, harvesting and milling of sugarcane here in Richmond.Watt visited the Broadwater factory last week.

“It’s about making sure we don’t just fix things, we want to make sure this region is more resilient for the future,” he said. “Whether we like it or not, with climate change and other things, we’re going to see more flooding and severe weather in the future.

“We want to make sure that facilities and homes can also withstand future events.”

The following six companies have received funding under the program:

  • Manildra Harwood Sugars (sugar from the sun) – $12,660,971
  • Social Futures – $899,360
  • Norco Cooperative Limited – $34,698,362
  • McKinlay Enterprises (North Coast Petroleum) – $4,050,368
  • Williams Group Australia – $3,676,834
  • Multitasking Human Resources Foundation – $3,314,105

The program is administered by the New South Wales government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Agreements.

Sunshine Sugar is looking for mechanical fitters, call 6681 2700. They also need truck drivers. Call 6620 8223 if you are interested.

This article originally appeared on indyNR.com on September 13, 2022.