The McGowan Government is boosting regional business growth with a $2.55 million allocation from the State’s Co-operative Loan Scheme to two well-known enterprises from Geraldton and Carnarvon.
The Sweeter Banana Co-operative has obtained an $800,000 loan to purchase a packing shed and build a value-adding facility, reducing overhead costs and creating pathways to new markets.
The loan will enable the co-operative to purchase its rented premises and add an extension that will allow the organisation to diversify its range to include frozen bananas, as well as baked goods made from product that would previously have been discarded.
The Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative has secured a $1.75 million loan to build its lobster processing capacity at its Fremantle sites by acquiring new steam cookers, blast freezers and a sea water tank system for live lobster storage.
The investment will increase product throughout and create value adding opportunities for premium Western Australian lobsters, ensuring the co-operative’s competitiveness and ability to meet global market demand for high quality, sustainable seafood.
More than $123 million has been provided to established Western Australian co-operatives for capital purchases, since the Co-operative Loan Scheme was first established in 2004.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Our government has been on the front foot in supporting WA co-operatives to prosper to the benefit of their members, regional economies and communities.
“Sweeter Banana Co-operative and the Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative are two Western Australian success stories, and it is great to see both using the loan scheme to diversify and expand their businesses.
“The Co-operative Loan Scheme has assisted several businesses over the years, such as the WA Meat Marketing Co-operative, which used its loan in 2018 to improve efficiencies and expand capacity to process higher value chilled product.”