25/03/2010 - 13:59

WA co-operative loan scheme tripled

25/03/2010 - 13:59

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Increased demand from Western Australia's existing co-operatives has prompted the state government to triple its co-operative loan scheme to $60 million.

WA co-operative loan scheme tripled

Increased demand from Western Australia's existing co-operatives has prompted the state government to triple its co-operative loan scheme to $60 million.

Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said there were a number of primary producers who had pooled resources and expertise to form co-operatives around the state to process, market and sell their products.

"Western Australia has some very successful co-operatives who contribute significantly to our regional communities including Sweeter Bananas, Geraldton Fisherman's Co-op and Western Australian Meat Marketing Co-Operative (WAMMCO)," Mr Redman said.

"Co-operatives have limited ability to raise outside capital for expansion or replacement projects. Some of our co-ops have been very keen to expand their businesses, but have been hampered by difficulties in securing finance.

"Due to increased interest in the loan scheme, the State Government is keen to support industry development by increasing the total lending limit to $60 million.

"The extension of the scheme is in recognition of the valuable economic and social flow-on effects from co-operatives who generate employment and assist in the development of rural and regional communities."

Rural and regional co-operatives in WA operate across a range of agricultural and fishing sectors, including grains, sheep, rock lobster, bananas and dairy.

"The loan scheme has already seen significant new investment in production facilities in Western Australia," the Minister said.

"For example, lamb processor WAMMCO has used the scheme to revamp boning facilities at Katanning, which has improved plant efficiency and increased productivity."

A loan to a co-operative under the scheme allows the co-operative to claim taxation benefits under the Income Tax Assessment Act.

 

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