By Jeremy Sollars
Thomas Foods International has categorically ruled out re-opening its Wallangarra abattoir following a fire which destroyed its processing plant at Murray Bridge in South Australia last week.
Locals had been speculating the Wallangarra site might re-open as part of the company’s adjustments to its operations as a result of the fire.
But a statement released to the Free Times today, Thursday 11 January, by TFI chief executive officer Darren Thomas made it clear re-opening Wallangarra is not an option.
“Our Wallangarra plant remains closed and is not being considered as part of the company’s current redeployment plans,” Mr Thomas 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 Wallangarra abattoir closed down in mid-2016 due to stock supply shortages.
The Murray Bridge plant in South Australia caught fire on Wednesday 3 January after a welder accidentally started a small blaze while working on an offal bin.
The first quickly spread through combustible walls.
The jobs of around 1400 staff at the Murray Bridge plant remain uncertain at this point.