South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell has backed the council's decision to reduce the cost of water for Kingaroy’s Swickers factory.
South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell has backed the council's decision to reduce the cost of water for Kingaroy’s Swickers factory.

Mayor backs decision on reduction of Swickers water charges

THE loss of the Swickers Bacon Factory would have a “catastrophic” impact to the sustainability of the South Burnett, with the business employing 700 people across the region.

That’s according to South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell, who has backed the decision made by council to reduce the cost of water for the business, with its internal water supply struggling to keep up with an increase in production during the drought.

“In the case of Swickers, water is an essential ingredient to enable production and to provide ongoing employment which contributes to the region’s economy,” Cr Campbell said.

“With the current dry conditions, Swickers have exhausted their own on-site water supplies. “They have initiated practices, where possible, to use minimum quantities of water in their processing, and have done everything possible to use water as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“Council commends the efforts they employ to achieve this result.”

At the November 2019 meeting, council passed the request to reduce Swickers’ water usage charges to tier one at a rate of $1.64 for the first 20,000 kilolitres of water used in each six monthly period of the 2018/19 financial year, and tier two charges of $2.20 per kilolitre for all water used above 20,000 kilolitres in each six monthly period of the 2018/19 financial year.

“The resolution that was passed at the November 2019 council meeting is the same in context as was passed for water usage during the preceding two years,” Cr Campbell said.

Cr Campbell said it recovered treatment costs and ratepayers are not disadvantaged.

“Their use of water from the town supply is not likely to reduce until heavy and sustained rains occur,” he said.

“Council acknowledges that the draw from the town’s supply will be dependent on rain to fill the aquifers so they can use their own water supplies to supplement their needs to run the factory.”