$30,000 for Lakes Entrance Fishermen’s Co-op plan

Lakes Entrance Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Limited (LEFCOL) has received $30,000 to assist in developing a marketing, production and processing strategy that will aid in making informed decisions on how best to invest in its future.

Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said “the Lakes Entrance fishing industry is worth an estimated $200 million annually to the Victorian economy and is a vital contributor to our local economy in East Gippsland.”

“The funding will encourage the development of processed value-added seafood products for the Australian and overseas markets and allow for imported product to be replaced with Australian harvested and processed products,” Mr Bull said.

“The strategy will also investigate and identify the application of industrial automation techniques to fish filleting and further processing a wide range of fish, enabling LEFCOL to process school whiting in Australia which has historically been exported for processing.

“These outcomes will underwrite the long-term profitability of the Lakes Entrance fishing industry, and stimulate the up skilling of local employees to contribute to the development and sustainability of the region’s food processing sector.

“Commercialising and developing new markets will contribute to high-technology industries being established in East Gippsland, significantly building the capacity of regional industries and creating employment opportunities in cutting-edge technologies,” Mr Bull said.

Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan, said Victorian Government funding for the $50,000 project was supported by contributions of $10,000 from the Lakes Entrance Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Limited and East Gippsland Shire Council.

He said the government’s funding would be provided through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund’s Putting Locals First Program.

“Putting Locals First is a $100 million initiative that enables regional communities to devise and deliver service and infrastructure responses that reflect local priorities,” Mr Ryan said.

“It is supporting stronger and more sustainable regional communities by building their capacity to drive development in their region.”

The strategy is expected to be completed by August 2012.