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New Koko Black project to 'deliver jobs, investment' in north Melb

16 April, 2014

More than 100 new manufacturing jobs will be created in Melbourne's northern suburbs by a project to be funded by the Victorian and Australian Governments in partnership with Ford Australia.

Australian Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane, Premier Denis Napthine, Victorian Minister for Manufacturing David Hodgett and Ford Australia President and CEO, Bob Graziano announced a $3 million grant under the Melbourne's North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF) to Moreland-based chocolate manufacturer Koko Black.

The grant will allow Koko Black to undertake a $10.9 million project which will establish the company's new Asia-Pacific headquarters in northern Melbourne.

Labelled 'The Alchemy Hall Project', Koko Black will develop a manufacturing centre of excellence, an R&D facility to support product innovation and an interactive visitor experience centre and salon.

Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie represented the Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane at the announcement this morning.

"This is good news for the Australian manufacturing industry and great news for Melbourne's manufacturing community in the northern suburbs," Senator McKenzie said.

"The Koko Black project is an example of the type of innovative and world class food manufacturing venture that Australia excels at while the sector undergoes major transformation.

"This great investment is another show of confidence in the region and in the change of direction that is taking place in Australian manufacturing," Senator McKenzie said.

Dr Napthine said the Coalition Government was working with Ford Australia and the Federal Government to provide jobs and opportunities in Melbourne's north.

"Koko Black is a fantastic local business with a great reputation for delivering high quality products," Dr Napthine said.

"Since opening its first chocolate salon in 2003, the business has grown to more than ten salons across Australia with plans to extend its operations into Singapore and Hong Kong.

"The Coalition Government is proud to make strategic co-investments with businesses like Koko Black to create quality employment opportunities in growing industries," Dr Napthine said.

Hodgett said Koko Black was one of Melbourne's many success stories with the local innovative business going from strength to strength.

"This exciting new project showcases Victoria's capabilities in driving innovation in advanced manufacturing and food processing," Hodgett said.

"I am greatly impressed by the innovative and exciting projects being delivered by the MNIIF program. Today's announcement is another great example of how providing support for investment by local businesses results in new, sustainable jobs and assists the region to diversify its economic base," President and CEO of Ford Australia Bob Graziano said.

"Ford Australia is proud to be associated with the MNIIF because it's an important element of Ford Australia's commitment to transform its Australian business and support all stakeholders affected by our changes."

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