Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham is surprised by Inghams’ concerns over waste water regulations and says council help has been offered to the chicken processing company
The Byron Shire mayor says her council made significant concessions in a bid to connect a local chicken factory to the sewerage system.
Earlier this week Inghams announced 80 jobs would be cut at the plant, with concerns over waste water regulations cited as a major factor.
Jan Barham says the previous owner, Sunnybrand, had been working with the council to address similar issues.
She says that should have been common knowledge when the facility was sold last year.
“I’m surprised to hear that Inghams were unaware when they purchased,” Cr Barham said.
“I think the EPA have said that they’ve had meetings also and that there was a very open and transparent process.
“So much of this information is on the record with council reports, so it’s really disturbing to hear that a loss of jobs is the result of them not being able to upgrade their services.
“That’s where council made significant concessions to work with the previous operators to alleviate some of the financial difficulties and pressures associated with connecting to the sewer.
“So the offer would still be on the table… that offer would still be there.”
Ballina MP speaks to Inghams
Meanwhile, the Ballina MP Don Page says Inghams has assured him it remains committed to doing business in the area.
But he says the company is unlikely to reverse its decision to scale back production and cut jobs.
“I think Inghams recognise that they do have to meet the standard and they’re saying that the business doesn’t allow them sufficient cash flow under the current arrangements to be able to meet that requirement,” Mr Page said.
“Therefore they have to wind back production.
“So whilst they’ll be shedding some jobs now, they’re not planning to shed any more in future and it’s not part of a reduction program to eventually move out of Byron Bay.
“They’re not saying that at all, in fact they’re saying the opposite, that they’re committed on an ongoing basis.”
Source: ABC News