ABATTOIR giant, Teys, is set to pay 20 per cent more for water in Tamworth after council voted to increase its charges.
The move was endorsed by Tamworth Regional Councillors at this week’s meeting in a bid to eventually bring the meat processor’s water charges in line with costs incurred by other food processors in the region.
However, the Tamworth beef abattoir’s general manager, David Jenkins, raised some concerns with raising costs for the industry.
Mr Jenkins told the open council meeting rising energy and water costs, as well as decreasing cattle numbers have already had an effect.
“In the last two years, we’ve seen a 20 to 30 per cent decrease in cattle,” Mr Jenkins said.
“This led to 10, what we call dark days in our industry, non-production days at Tamworth and in excess of 50 with our other Teys’ plants and also our competitors have been facing the same situation.”
Teys employs about 650 people directly in Tamworth and the general manager said it provided about 800 indirect jobs.
Mr Jenkins pointed to the “devastating” impact rising costs and high cattle prices had on the recently closed Churchill abattoir in Ipswich, Queensland.
“The company blamed the recent shortages and high livestock prices for the closure, saying it had a devastating effect on the beef industry and the Churchill abattoir,” he said.
Currently, Teys pays 74 cents per kilolitre of water compared with other food processors in the region which pay $1.19 for the same quantity.
The first cost increase to Teys will come into effect from November 1, 2018.
Tamworth Regional Council will continue to increase the abattoir’s water charges every 12 months until it’s equal to other food processors’ charges.
“We understand it’s part of business and we ask if we could progress over a five year period,” Mr Jenkins said.
“We do appreciate Bruce [Logan, council director of water and waste] has also submitted the same recommendation.”
Mr Jenkins said Teys were committed to operating in regional communities.
“Against the backdrop of many Australian manufacturers withdrawing, Teys are committed to regional Australia,” he said.
“Our facility at Tamworth is one of the largest employers in the region and contributes to more than $100 million gross regional product.”