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Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has thrown his support behind a major employer in Mallacoota as it continues its recovery from the summer bushfires.

AFCOL Australia lost its abalone processing facility in Commercial Road where wild-caught abalone is prepared for export to overseas markets.

Mr Chester is doing what he can to help the business, which employs dozens of people and indirectly supports many other local jobs.

“The abalone industry is synonymous with Mallacoota and is a critical part of the regional economy. Many people will be excited to learn the business has big plans for the future,” Mr Chester said.

“I’m supporting the abalone co-op in its efforts to secure a government grant so it can add further value to the local product and provide opportunities for visitors to learn more about this delicacy, both of which will create new jobs for Mallacoota.”

A temporary processing facility has been established so the wild harvest abalone can still get to market and local jobs are kept safe.

Mr Chester is urging both the federal and state governments to support the co-op’s plans.

“A major upgrade at the co-op should be part of the bushfire recovery effort and would complement efforts to re-boot Gippsland’s business and tourism sectors after the coronavirus lockdown,” Mr Chester said.

“All levels of government need to work together to maximise local job opportunities, cut red tape and find the funding needed to ensure infrastructure is replaced and support our communities as they rebuild and recover.”

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