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East Gippsland Food Cluster will receive $890,000 from the Federal Government to help local agrifood businesses to boost productivity and grow.

The food cluster is one of four groupings of food industry leaders across the nation to be part of Australia’s first-ever agribusiness cluster funding initiative. The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester today congratulated the East Gippsland Food Cluster on its selection to take part in Food Innovation Australia Limited’s (FIAL) Cluster Program.

“Gippsland’s $7 billion agrifood sector is a key driver of our region’s economy and our local produce has an established reputation as clean and green,” Mr Chester said.

“East Gippsland Food Cluster supports members to boost productivity and find new ways to continue to grow sustainably.

“This program will benefit farmers, food suppliers and retailers – and that’s good news for the prosperity of our region and for local jobs.”

Members of the East Gippsland Food Cluster include Bonaccord, VegCo, Bulmers Farm Fresh Vegetables, Patties Foods, Lakes Entrance Fishermens Co-op, Albert and Co, Lightfoot and Sons, Maffra Cheese Company, Tinamba Hotel, The Riversleigh, Blue Gables Vineyard, Shaw’s Quality Meats and Bullant Brewery.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash welcomed the program as the first of its kind, saying it would drive collaboration between Australia’s industry, science and research sectors. “Food Innovation Australia’s new program is a fantastic platform to encourage industry, government and researchers to unite around a common purpose and solve regional problems they otherwise could not tackle alone,” Ms Cash said. Assistant Minister Zed Seselja said the program would help to drive growth and accelerate innovation in the food industry all over Australia. “Business clusters and hubs are important because they lead to small and medium business growth, greater innovation, increased exports, more jobs and economic development,” Mr Seselja said. More information about the FIAL Cluster Program is available at fial.com.au/cluster-programme

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