- State Government Co-operative Loans Scheme assists new infrastructure projects for Geraldton-based western rock lobster processor and exporter
The Geraldton Fishermen's Co-operative Ltd has secured a $3.5 million loan through the State Government's Co-operative Loan Scheme to build an 80-tonne live lobster holding facility at Welshpool to facilitate increased exports to China.
Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said that as Western Australia's biggest rock lobster processor, the Liberal National Government recognised the importance of the Geraldton Co-operative to the economy of both the Mid-West and the State.
"This scheme has enabled this Geraldton-based processor and exporter to build vital infrastructure to further grow premium western rock lobster exports," Mr Lewis said.
"The facility being built by the co-operative in Welshpool will be Australia's biggest rock lobster tank holding facility, and will facilitate air freight of fresh rock lobster into China to reduce the time from 'catch to plate'.
"A new warehouse with lobster holding tanks has also been established in the Guangdong Province in China to assist with this growing market."
The Minister said producer-based co-operatives made an important contribution to the economic development of regional communities and the State.
"The scheme facilitates the growth and development of established co-operatives through the purchase of assets or capital items," he said.
"A co-operative loan gives businesses, such as the Geraldton Fishermen's Co-operative, the ability to adapt to current global market requirements."
Loans through the scheme allow co-operatives to claim a tax deduction on the principal repayments of the loan together with the usual taxation deductions of interest and fees under the Income Tax Assessment Act.
"The Co-operative Loan Scheme has approved a range of loans to eligible Western Australian co-operatives totalling $75.8 million since its establishment in 2004," Mr Lewis said.
"Sweeter Banana Co-operative and the WA Meat Marketing Co-operative are also currently accessing loans through this scheme."
Western rock lobster is a sought-after ecologically sustainable product, with exports from WA worth $443 million in 2014-15.
- Enquiries about the Co-operative Loan Scheme can be directed to the Department of Agriculture and Food's Rural Business Development Unit on 1800 198 231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister's office - 6552 6400