Iconic tea tree company leaves Ballina, 35 jobs lost
THE owner of Thursday Plantation, will shut down its Ballina factory, leaving 35 workers without a job by the end of the year.
On Wednesday, Integria Healthcare announced it would close its site on Gallans Road in Ballina.
The bulk of jobs lost involve packaging and assembly, some involve compliance and quality control and there were also a small number of jobs requiring customer service and hospitality skills at the visitor's centre and cafe.
Over the course of 2020, there will be a phased transfer of operations from Ballina to Integria's existing facility in Warwick, Queensland and to other Australian manufacturers.
Thursday Plantation tea tree oil products, which are now packaged in Ballina, will be packaged elsewhere.
Integria Healthcare's general manager for Operations, Greg Fisher, said the decision was not made lightly.
"We regret having to close the Ballina site but we are left with no other option to ensure the long-term success of the company," Mr Fisher said.
"We're grateful for the continued dedication of our Ballina employees and we will be supporting them with a range of assistance programs during the transition. We have a track record of treating our people fairly, and with dignity and respect, and that will be the case in Ballina."
Ballina mayor David Wright was optimistic about the workers' prospects.
He said the factory closure comes at a time where the unemployment rate in Ballina is low, and many new businesses are looking to open stores in the area.
"At least they are given notice, it will hopefully give them time to find something else," Cr Wright said.
"There will be an impact on the community, the business has changed hands but it has had a home here for a long time.
"We have so many new companies coming to town, this news goes against the grain."