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Water costs threaten jobs

Gareth ThomasThe West Australian
WAMMCO group chief executive Coll MacRury.
Camera IconWAMMCO group chief executive Coll MacRury. Credit: Rueben Hale

Jobs at Katanning’s biggest employer WAMMCO are at risk of drying up, with a change to the Water Corporation’s pricing structure threatening the long-term viability of the meat processing plant.

As of April 1, the abattoir, which employs about 350 people, has been charged about 20 per cent more for water, as well as an up-front fee for service over the next 15 years.

WAMMCO chief executive Coll MacRury said the increase meant water in WA cost twice as much as it would in the Eastern States.

“It is horrendous what we are being asked to pay in Katanning,” he said.

Mr MacRury said the decision to build the meatworks plant in Katanning was based on an expectation that affordable water would be made available.

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“That is now becoming a big issue for the co-op and we now need to look at all other avenues to try and make sure we try to safeguard the business,” he said.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said there were bores in the area which might be able to be used to assist WAMMCO with water affordability.

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