Inghams to quit Byron Bay operations


Set to close. Byron Bay’s Inghams chicken processing factory (formerly Sunnybrand). Photo Eve Jeffery

Eve Jeffery

Eighty-six people will find themselves out of work when Inghams Byron Bay closes its doors in late October, further reducing employment opportunities in the region.

The chicken factory had been operating the Byron Bay processing plant since it acquired the assets of Sunnybrand Chickens on April 30, 2011.

A media release from the company said that they have recently completed a review of their facilities in Queensland and northern NSW, with a focus on assessing existing production facilities to meet increasing customer demand for a wide range of fresh pre-prepared or ‘value added’ poultry products.

Mike Rozen, Inghams’ group executive general manager, says the latest review has focused on the Byron Bay production facility’s ability to meet this changing demand.

‘With this older and less efficient facility currently functioning at its structural limits, it is unable to competitively produce the full range of poultry products increasingly sought by consumers in the Australian marketplace.’

Site safety

Mr Rozen said that Inghams is currently assessing its options in relation to the Byron Bay property and will review remediation requirements in the lead up to the October 2014 closure. ‘We will continue to maintain the safety of the site and all environmental requirements.’

The site closure will occur in two main stages.

In stage one, onsite live bird processing will cease. Stage two will see the site continue to debone birds supplied from the Murarrie processing plant until closure, allowing ‘a smooth redirection of production volumes’.

A total of 86 employees, including 21 casuals, located at the Byron Bay processing plant will be affected. Several contract service providers will also be impacted and Inghams say they ‘will work with them through the closure process’.


Mr Rozen says permanent employees are being notified of, and encouraged to express interest in, opportunities to relocate to alternative sites.

‘At this stage, we believe we should be able to accommodate those interested employees who are prepared to transfer to an available opportunity’, he said.

In related news, NSW Fair Trading has announced it will ‘work to enhance consumer confidence and certainty around egg labelling, including the development of a draft National Information Standard on free range eggs’.


7 responses to “Inghams to quit Byron Bay operations”

  1. Steven Frank says:

    Not a murmur from the Green Council on this one, after all, they’re only people, not endangered frogs.
    Byron can still proudly hail their local leaders as the [dumbest] of Australian Councils.

  2. JamesInBB says:

    Notice to all those anti-tourism whingers – this is another reason we have to support Byron Bay’s tourism industry. More and more traditional industry is being lost to the region, and we locals need to continue to gain an income to pay our rent and food bills.

    This is a sad loss to the region, so let’s stop belligerently standing in the way of anyone who wants to do the tiniest positive thing for tourism!

    (I have no connection to the tourism industry whatsoever – I just understand that it’s the one sustainable and positive point-of-difference we have in this region, and it needs support)

  3. Peter says:

    This unfortunate situation is what happens when extreme “green” views are imposed.
    The “greens” will be cheering and slapping each others backs at the thought of “another one in the eye” of a multi-national company. To bad for those people who will not have a job.

  4. Mrs D. Lebowski says:

    Where on earth does all this Green bashing come from? What does it have to do with the Greens? It’s not even a Greens council – only 3 on council. How does council have any say on a decision by the owners of a business to close? What does it have to do with tourism? Have an opinion people, by all means, but let it be supported by some facts rather than absurdist rants about irrelevant side issues. Complain to the owners people.
    It’s a commercial decision – nothing to do with Byron, greens council or anything. See the SMH article.

  5. The company couldn’t upgrade their facility and why not! Sometimes the employer has to put a little effort into thinking outside the square, beside their bottom line.

  6. Graco says:

    Do people actually take the time to read the article before shooting off their BIG mouths ? No just like Andrew Bolt and Allan Jones take aim and fire away only all they’ve done is shot themselves in the foot . Ingam’s closing down has absolutely nothing to do with the Greens . Lib’s , Nationals , Council or anything else . Nowhere in the article is Council , Political Parties , Environmental issues or anything to do with any of it mentioned . Ingam’s were quite clear about it’s reasons for closing the factory .
    Oh but any opportunity to indulge in some baseless Greens bashing can not be missed even if it’s totally unfounded . Frankly I’ve had enough of the same peoples relentless terse totally bias one eyed political comment . The fact is Greens have been elected to Byron , Tweed and Lismore Councils . Obviously they have support and I can only see that support base growing . If they don’t like it what are you doing living in Byron ? If you don’t like it and obviously they don’t , go live somewhere else . Spare us the Daily Greens bashing and unfounded same boring old baseless conservative dribble .

    • Jimmy79 says:

      Why do anti extreme green people still live in The Bay you ask? Possibly because their families have been here for generations, have seen their town change around them from a sleepy, industrial town to a the over-hyped, alternate tourist trap it is now. But it is still home, they still love the place, so why the hell should they ‘go live somewhere else’?

      You ask why some people are green bashing. Well, it has been well known that certain groups around town have wanted the place gone for years as it doesn’t fit in with their ideas of what the Bay should be like – despite the fact the factory was there long before these blow in’s decided to call this town their home. One former mayor even commented directly once that the place should move because the smell of death shouldn’t be the first thing visitors encounter when they enter the town! So it’s very easy to see why some would blame the green element.

      Back on topic, yes you are correct that this decision is a commercial decision, but the notion that the closure is due to the plant running at it’s structural limits is a bit off the mark. Going back 6-7 years when the company was still locally owned, the plant used to comfortably process more birds in a single day than it currently does in a whole week!
      I feel the real reason lies within this article – . With Inghams recently sold to an overseas investor, and their plan to sell off and lease back the property that their plants are located on in order to pay off the debts from the purchase of the company, it simply doesn’t make sense to pay rent on the Ewingsdale Rd site when they have another plant just up the road in Murrarie that can easily handle the workload. Especially considering the sale price of the site (45 acres within walking distance to the Byron Bay CBD!) would be huge, and any rent charged by the perspective buyer would be just as huge. The sale price would probably be higher too if the site was bulldozed and the land was a blank canvas.
      There is already debate about the re-zoning of the site, but with the new West Byron housing development in the pipeline right next door, I wouldn’t mind guessing more houses would be built there, and in turn creating the need to provide amenity for these new residents in the form of shopping centres, etc, to take the pressure off the CBD.
      The site location on the main road would be ideal for a large shopping centre, cinemas, etc – which would allow the opportunity for Big W, Maccas, and all sorts of multi-nationals to sneak into town! Or maybe it could be a great site for a super resort, just like Gerry Harveys fancy joint out at the old Everglades site!

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