Richmond Valley Council Mayor Col Sullivan addresses the crowd protesting increased water charges.
Richmond Valley Council Mayor Col Sullivan addresses the crowd protesting increased water charges. Doug Eaton

Meat co-op's call for help

THE board of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company will wait to see what assistance the State Government can provide before it decides the future of the Casino meatworks.

As reported by The Northern Star last week, the operator was rocked by a decision on Tuesday by the Richmond Valley Council to charge the co-op $1.19 a kilolitre for water.

The co-op was expecting a compromise deal whereby it would be charged 95 cents a kilolitre.

Following the decision, co-op general manager Gary Burridge claimed the decision risked the viability of the meatworks and made dire predictions regarding its future.

But according to co-op chairman George Bennett, the board made no decision on the future of the meatworks at its meeting on Thursday.

"(State Clarence MP) Chris Gulaptis came to our board meeting and we asked him to go away and see what they can do for us," he said.

Mr Gulaptis confirmed he attended the meeting and said he was working with the office of Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson in regard to the issue.

"(The co-op) are looking for some assistance from the State Government," Mr Gulaptis said.

"That can be financial or it can also be to ensure that their (water treatment plant) development application is approved without unnecessary delay, and also to look at ensuring they have water security to pump from their licensed area.

"It is something they would need to look at if they were going to build their own water treatment plant."

Meanwhile, Richmond Valley Council will decide today whether to accept 69 cents a kilolitre for payment of the co-op's unpaid water bill for the first half of 2011/12 and whether to charge interest on the amount.

Papers for that meeting recommend "council advise the Northern Co-operative Meat Company Ltd that in regard to water charges for 2011/2012, council will accept a payment plan equivalent to $0.69/kL of water consumption used for the first two quarters of 2011/2012 and that interest will not be charged on the overdue amounts on those accounts unless they remain unpaid by 31 March 2012 and that council will further review the matter at that time".



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