Unions are calling on the federal and NSW governments to support hundreds of workers at a Lismore ice-cream factory, saying job losses will have a profound effect on the flood-ravaged community.
Norco, a century-old dairy co-operative owned by farmers, has warned it will have to stand down 240 workers from its ice-cream facility when government support runs out on July 15.
The support package has paid workers in the months since the factory was badly damaged during catastrophic floods in February. They have been part of clean-up efforts across the regional city and at local farms.
Norco chief executive Michael Hampson last Wednesday joined other major Lismore employers in calling for the federal government's $44 million Anchor Business Support grant program to be doubled.
Mr Hampson said the co-op's farmer members could not cover workforce costs while there was no commercial output.
The NSW government had last week announced an additional $15 million in funding, but the businesses said much more was needed to adequately rebuild and operate.
The situation has prompted calls from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union and the Electrical Trades Union for governments to step in.
The unions have written to the state and federal governments, urging them to save the workers' jobs.
"Lismore is a resilient community, but there's no way it can bounce back from losing 240 jobs. The impact on the community will be profound," manufacturing union state secretary Cory Wright said on Tuesday.
Justin Smith, from the Newcastle and northern branch of the meat industry union, said the factory and its workers made a significant contribution to the region and the state's economy.
"This factory doesn't just provide a job to these workers and employment for the community, it is a part of their and Lismore's identity."
Australian Associated Press
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