Their slogan reads 'Real Love, Real Food, Real Ethics', but Inverell Shire Council and Chamber of Commerce have both been left "blindsided" by the Real Pet Food Company's (RPFD) decision to leave Inverell by December.
Mayor Paul Harmon said he was "disappointed" no-one from the RPFD hadn't reached out before announcing the decision to close.
He said a better outcome for the town and community could potentially have been reached if they'd thought to have an open and "confidential discussion" with council, and Chamber president Georgina King agrees.
The decision leaves in its wake grave concerns about the impact it will have not only on the factory's staff, but the wider Inverell community and economy.
"It's disappointing they didn't think to come to us first," Cr Harmon told the Times.
"We are used to having those confidential conversations, so we're caught on the back foot."
He said a sit-down with the company beforehand may not have made any impact on their decision, however hopes to arrange a meeting with the company's executives next week to discuss why they've made the call to pull the pin.
"We want to know what brought them to this point, to identify anything that can be done to help other businesses in town who could be experiencing the same or a similar thing," he said.
"We also want to make sure they are held to account with what they've said about staff compensation - we want to make sure their health and safety is well looked after, and that [the company] uphold their responsibility to those staff."
[W]hen you drip a drop of water into a bucket the effects will ripple out and no-one in town will be unaffected.Paul Harmon
In a statement, the RPFC claimed they'd offered all employees a "generous redundancy package, counselling support and a range of job and outplacement assistance locally or with our five other facilities across Australia".
Mrs King said it was a "terrible loss" to the community, especially to the workers who will see their jobs disappear as a result.
"We are very sad about it, and I suppose we don't know whether we could've done anything about it had we known," she said.
She said the community had to "rally together" to get them jobs, potentially filling the worker shortage currently being experienced in many different sectors in Inverell.
"There are 68 jobs being lost - and we know there are lots of jobs in town, so I hope we can all rally together and find jobs for those who are loosing them," she said.
"We know we have a worker shortage, so hopefully we can absorb those jobs and support those families that need supporting."
Cr Harmon noted the "ripple effects" will be felt by the entire Inverell community and the economy.
"It's not a small business - it's a medium sized operation. And it's not just people losing their jobs - right on December, which is a pressure cooker time as it is - but the flow on effects will be significant," he said.
It may also present the exciting possibility to replace the site's operations with a recycling plant.Georgina King
"With freight - what will happen to those contracts, will they still have them? And the cleaning... when you drip a drop of water into a bucket the effects will ripple out and no-one in town will be unaffected."
The RPFC said there are no plans yet for the future of the site, with those decisions to be made in 2022.
While Cr Harmon said it was "too soon" for him to consider a viable alternative to the factory, Mrs King expressed hope the site could be repurposed into a recycling centre.
"It may also present the exciting possibility to replace the site's operations with a recycling plant," she enthused.
"The government has so many incentives out there for recycling, and it could be absolutely sensational."
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