Meat works compromise put at risk

RICHMOND Valley Council has hit back at the Casino Meatworks, claiming its "non-negotiable" stance on water pricing has made it difficult to reach a compromise.

This week the Northern Co-operative Meat Company took the "unprecedented step" of asking residents to write to the council in support of the co-op.

A full-page advertisement, with a pro-forma response that can be sent to the council, was published in this newspaper and the Richmond River Express Examiner.

The meatworks is appealing for help after a decision to increase to price of water from 69 cents a kilolitre to $1.70.

The council has since decreased the price to $1.19.

In a written response to The Northern Star, the council says the comments in the meatworks' advertisement were "unfortunate in relation to maintaining civility during the community consultation process".

The council acknowledged that the meatworks was "entitled" to seek community support for its position.

But the content of the petition is "unlikely to be supported by council as it would be in contravention of State Government guidelines and impact appropriate recovery of the costs of providing water".

"There is no current rationale for a charge of less than $1.19/kL with a corresponding increase in the subsidy to the NCMC from other water customers," the statement reads.

"Council remains committed to consultation on water charges and welcomes any further interaction with the NCMC.

"Unfortunately, council has been advised several times by the NCMC ... that they are 'not-negotiable' regarding their particular position during this process, hence reaching a compromise is difficult."

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