State MP for Ballina Don Page has come to the defence of Inghams after his government’s own Environmental Protection Authority yesterday denied any responsibility for the cutbacks at the company’s Byron Bay chicken processing plant.
Mr Page said in a media release yesterday that after discussions with Inghams, he is satisfied that the company could not meet wastewater management standards without increasing operational costs, and therefore had to scale down its employment and output to remain viable.
But earlier in the day the state government authority he blames for the closure said on ABC radio they had placed no pressure on Inghams to scale back production.
EPA north coast manager Brett Nudd said the EPA has worked with many businesses to achieve its desired environmental results ‘within the financial constraints of any given operation’.
Mr Page also backed the company’s handling of the 80 redundancies that will occur as a result of the cutback in production.
‘Arrangements are in place to prioritise the jobs of long-term employees, offer voluntary redundancies, and assist workers in finding employment in other areas of the Inghams group in NSW and Qld,’ he said.
Inghams have not communicated with the media directly about the closure other than via a single media release on Monday.