Lakes Entrance Fisherman's Cooperative will receive $200,000 in State Government funds for a Fishing Industry Expansion initiative.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the funds are being provided as part of the Advancing Country Towns (ACT) project and will hopefully see and expansion of the Lakes Entrance fishing industry and local employment opportunities.
"Initially $20,000 of the overall $200,000 will be used to identify workforce development and business planning, the balance of $180,000 to be used for expansion of the cooperative's fish processing equipment. There is also co-funding being provided by the cooperative and East Gippsland Shire and overall in excess of $600,000 will be invested into this project.
"Lakes Entrance was one of nine regional and rural communities which are the focus of Victoria’s $9.4 million four-year Advancing Country Towns program – and has received $810,000 to create opportunities for growth, prosperity and employment with a focus on employment opportunities for locals from disadvantaged sections of the local community. Other projects will follow.”
“This first initiative of the Lakes Entrance ACT project will make a real difference by creating new opportunities for year-round employment, while at the same time supporting the growth of a key local industry.”
“The Fishing Industry Expansion initiative is expected to create at least 25 to 30 new jobs, and it will bring new business opportunities to the town. The Lakes Entrance fishing industry generates more than $200 million a year for the Victorian economy and LEFCOL is a critical service provider for that industry.”
Mr Bull congratulated all funding partners including LEFCOL, East Gippsland Shire Council, Regional Development Victoria and the Lakes Entrance ACT steering committee for their careful planning.
"They really have done a great job pulling all of this together and presenting a project that has great scope to grow. To hear of the plans that will result in fish caught off our coast being processed locally and marketed under a local brand is something I am sure all consumers will welcome," he said.
LEFCOL CEO, Dale Sumner said, the LEFCOL Board of Management believes this project is critical to the long term sustainability of the fishing industry in Lakes Entrance and is very appreciative of the support provided by both State and Local Governments.
East Gippsland Shire mayor, Cr Dick Ellis, said the project was an exciting one for the town and he looked forward to growth in what was a critical local industry.
Mr Bull said the Fishing Industry Expansion initiative was a great example of local solutions to local challenges.