Norco exports full steam ahead after floods

Australian dairy products from northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland are on their way to Japan, marking the first international shipment from Norco’s Lismore dairy operations since before the Northern Rivers floods in 2022.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry approved the shipment of around 20,000 tonnes of dairy products, including tubs of ice-cream – which left Brisbane on March 10, and is due to arrive in Japan this month.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said it was a sweet treat for Norco and its farmers after working hard to restore the factory and make it more resilient for future severe weather events.

“International markets love Australian dairy, and a lot of livelihoods around the Northern Rivers and South East Queensland rely on Norco, so this first shipment after two years is an exciting step forward,” Minister Watt said.

“The Commonwealth and NSW Governments collectively contributed nearly $55 million to Norco’s flood recovery and reopening efforts, to protect local jobs, boost resilience and re-establish factory operations, so to see them kicking goals after the floods is heartening.

“Our Government is focussed on opening up more international trade opportunities for Aussie growers and producers, to provide more ways for industry to grow.

“Norco have been export-registered with the Agriculture Department since 1983, and DAFF have been working closely with the management team at Norco to get the co-operative export-ready.

“By working closely with our exporters, we can make sure that fresh, high-quality dairy products are getting out to markets across the globe, all while guaranteeing jobs in regional Australia.”

Michael Hampson, Norco Chief Executive Officer said he was pleased the 100% farmer-owned cooperative had reached a new milestone in its post-flood recovery with its first export shipment – manufactured at its Lismore ice-cream facility – sent to Japan.

“We are proud of the relationship our two organisations share, which spans more than two decades and is underpinned by an unwavering commitment to gold standard manufacturing and the production of high-quality ice cream,” Mr Hampson said.

“For more than a century, Norco have been operating as an Australian farmer-owned dairy cooperative, with 281 members on 188 dairy farms, and employing more than 770 staff.

“Support from our major customers, both domestic and international, was the foundation upon which we were able to rebuild our iconic Lismore facility, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see these export products back on the production line.

“I’d like to personally thank their team for their support over the past two years as we navigated the rebuild process, and I look forward to continuing to create value together in years to come.”