Employer mulls over interstate move which may cost more than 1,500 jobs

'Heated dispute' between companies puts thousands of workers at risk

Employer mulls over interstate move which may cost more than 1,500 jobs

Around 1,500 workers in Queensland are now at risk of losing their jobs as a “heated dispute” between two companies is still being settled with the state government intervening, news.com.au reported.

The issue concerns a multi-million dollar Brisbane waterfront development that sparked a legal controversy involving a Queensland meatworks operation Australian Country Choice (ACC), and developer BMI Group.

ACC stakeholders filed a legal appeal against the Brisbane council’s decision to approve two businesses in the Rivermakers precinct developed by BMI Group. ACC announced that due to the council’s decision, “it was [now] considering moving its sizeable operations interstate as it fights for the future of its meat processing facility,” the report stated.

At its core, “the ACC argued the proposed businesses would be located in an industrial buffer zone that prohibits using land for retail or restaurant activities,” news.com.au added.

To respond to the controversy, the state government placed a temporary injunction on council approvals in the said area. However, “the move didn’t go far enough,” the ACC said, according to the report.

Due to the dispute, ACC is now considering moving its operations to New South Wales and “assess all viable options for the future,” news.com.au said.

“Our preference would be to keep operating from our existing Brisbane premises which are world class, but that requires long-term planning certainty so we can continue making the necessary investment in our current operations and commit to a planned expansion down the track,” an ACC spokesperson said, according to the news outlet.

“We would prefer these jobs remain in Queensland, but without planning certainty we can’t make a long-term commitment,” the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union (AMIEU) stated that it was “deeply concerned” over the possible interstate move since the ACC has provided “an important source of employment” to Queensland workers for more than one hundred years.

“If Australian Country Choice is forced to move, the impact upon meat workers and their families will be devastating,” AMIEU Queensland branch secretary Matt Journeaux said in a statement, according to the report.

AMIEU further called on the state officials to allow ACC “invest in its employees” for the long-term.

For the council’s part, it said that it would follow the recently issued temporary injunction and “is working with businesses in the contentious waterfront development to ensure compliance,” news.com.au said.

As of date, the ACC spokesperson confirmed that both businesses “were not involved in mediation” concerning the dispute, according to the report.

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