Tamworth Council has cut the city’s largest employer some slack on non-compliance fines, as the company looks to expand its operation.
Thomas Foods International (TFI), which runs a lamb abattoir in West Tamworth, approached Tamworth Regional Council to waive its last four months’ worth of wastewater charges and non-compliance fees.
The abattoir has been been upgrading its wastewater system as part of its expansion with an estimated cost of $6 million.
“From July to now we have been mindful to control the dosage and establish this wastewater treatment system, which has resulted in the need to bypass council’s trade waste on occasion,” TFI Chief Operations Officer David McKay said.
- Tamworth Regional Council voted to increase Teys water charges by 20 per cent
- Tamworth Regional Councillors air concern over Baiada's record of non-compliant wastewater
“These discharge volumes during the commissioning period from July to the end of this month have triggered over charges which we are formally seeking from council some dispensation.”
Mr McKay said council had set a precedent in 2011 when it showed “support other major food processing companies in Tamworth to establish a similar type of system”.
TFI has invested “around $30 million” into its Tamworth facility in the last two years which has become the “largest lamb processing plant on the eastern seaboard”, Mr McKay said.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray wouldn’t divulge any figures about the deal, but said “Thomas Foods had been a really good corporate citizen” taking into account it’s the “largest private employer” in town and its significant impact.
Earlier this year, councillors put chicken processor Baiada on notice over its history of non-compliance with wastewater dumping.
Cr Murray said council had “cut Baiada some slack in the past too” and said the goal was to have compliant waste from all of the abattoirs in the area.
Beef processor Teys was slugged with a 20 per cent hike to its water charges earlier this year, despite it protests, with council looking to bring the abattoir’s bill into line with other local food processors.