The Wallangarra Meatworks is not on the cards to be reopened to make up production shortfalls in the wake of fire destroying Thomas Food International’s Murray Bridge works in South Australia, CEO Darren Thomas has informed the Star.
“Our Wallangarra plant remains closed and is not being considered as part of the company’s current redeployment plans,” he said.
“Thomas Foods International continues to focus on ensuring the best possible outcomes for our staff following the fire at Murray Bridge. As part of our redeployment strategy, we will be increasing production at our Tamworth and Lobethal plants as well as increasing our workforce at both sites.
“We remain committed to Murray Bridge and re-building our local processing operations.
“The long-term and sustainable approach to the recovery and rebuild following the Murray Bridge fire requires an enormous collaborative effort involving many other organisations and authorities that provide much valued support. Substantial progress is being made and we expect to be in a position to make further positive announcements soon.”
The clarification follows reports that Southern Downs mayor Tracie Dobbie was hopeful the meatworks may again become operational after discussions she had the meat processor, exploring options following the fire.
The Murray Bridge facility caught fire on January 3, displacing workers and severely impacting the company’s processing capabilities.
The unfortunate accident did raise a glimmer of hope for those who would love to see the Wallangarra plant operational again, after its closure last July. At its peak the facility had the capacity to process up to 15,250 lamb, mutton and goat carcases a week and had employed up to 260 workers.
A number of community meetings have been held in Wallangarra since, attended by Cr Dobbie and Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty and state and federal government representatives, exploring ways to reinvigorate the devastated community.