The reopening of Inverell’s former Nestlé factory as an aquafeed production plant has returned 25 new jobs, four of which are filled by Indigenous Australians, to the Northern NSW township.
The factory has been brought back to life under a joint venture between IBA and Ridley Corporation Limited, Australia’s largest producer of Aqua-Feed (commercial fish food).
IBA purchased the former manufacturing facility from Nestlé in 2009. The Ridley Corporation and IBA then invested significant funding to provide working capital and facilitate an upgrade of the plant to meet the exacting requirements of Aqua-Feed production.
A joint venture company Consolidated Manufacturing Enterprise (CME) Pty Ltd has been established, with Ridley AgriProducts Pty Ltd holding a 25 per cent shareholding, and IBA holding the remaining 75 per cent.
Key to IBA’s investment strategy will be the progressive selling down of its equity over time to local Indigenous groups. Over the next few years, production levels at the factory are expected to increase resulting in additional employment opportunities. Mayor of Inverell Barry Johnston acknowledged the economic development opportunities for the region at the launch of the new facility on 22 February. ‘The reopening of the Inverell facility is a boon for Inverell and the district’, he said.
Guests at the launch were welcomed to Anaiwan Country by Greg Livermore from the Anaiwan Local Aboriginal Land Council. The Mayor and Wesley Sims (CME Factory Manager) then performed an official ribbon cutting for the facility. Also in attendance were Russell Lyons (General Manager, Ridley AgriProducts Pty Ltd), Peter Robson (Chairman of CME), Chris Smith (Assistant General Manager, IBA) and other CME staff and stakeholders in the facility.
‘This joint venture is an exciting opportunity with significant potential for delivering positive long term economic and social benefits to the local community of Inverell’, said Chris Smith.