When fire destroyed large areas of the Swickers bacon factory in Kingaroy two weeks ago, many of the plant’s workers feared that their jobs were lost.
A fast fix was needed, and the Queensland Government was quick to seek the assistance of RPS Urban Planning Principal, Craig Harte, who would play an important role in ensuring the company’s 120 pork boners were back to work in Ipswich, just one week on from the disaster.
Working closely with Ipswich City Council, the landowners of the alternative facility and the SunPork Group, Craig compiled planning documentation at very short notice to secure a 28-day initial approval for temporary worker accommodation behind an existing meat processing facility in the Ipswich suburb of Wulkuraka.
With this approval in place, Swickers’ operations were resumed only eight days later, and works are now underway to construct the temporary worker accommodation.
Council has now also applied to the State Government Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning for a longer-term Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) approval for the facilities - a legislative fall back that allows local governments to amend or suspend planning scheme conditions in exceptional circumstances.
The TLPI will ensure workers can be safely accommodated close to the Wulkuraka factory, until Swickers’ Kingaroy plant is back up and running.
“Incidents like this are devastating and it was great to see State and Local Government, the business community and public come together to collaborate on a solution,” said Craig.
“Fortunately it’s rare that we have to call on these kinds of emergency mechanisms within the planning scheme but when things like this happen, it’s good to know that they are there, and that they work well.”
“It was a privilege to assist with getting the temporary approval in place to get people back to work so quickly, and as a local of the Ipswich area, I’m glad to be part of a community that is willing and able to lend a hand when disaster strikes,” Craig concluded.
Media Enquiries: Lauren Bonser on (07) 3237 8899
22 November 2016