RESIDENTS opposed to Baiada’s planned $80 million broiler operation at Manilla have questioned the project’s stated employment benefits after allegations of worker exploitation were aired against the poultry giant. Baiada was accused in last week’s Four Corners program of sourcing under-paid foreign workers on 417 visas from unscrupulous labour hire companies to work in its Sydney and Adelaide processing plants. Tamworth Regional Council last year granted the company, which is one of the country’s largest chicken producers, approval to construct up to 70 sheds housing almost three million birds across five farms outside Manilla. Baiada said approval of the broiler farms would see 15 people employed but, crucially, potentially pave the way for a new $100 million processing plant to be built in Tamworth, creating an estimated 600 jobs. Namoi River Community Group president Matthew Fletcher said several Tamworth councillors, including mayor Col Murray, had referred to the creation of jobs as a factor in their decision to support the project. “The question is now who will be filling these job vacancies and under what conditions?” he said. “The Four Corners report revealed that Baiada use labour supply contractors to secure foreign workers. “Baiada then pay the labour supply contractor, not the workers, thus relieving themselves of the responsibility of complying with awards, immigration requirements or allegations of&nbsp;exploitation. “The program then exposed the exploitation of these migrant workers, the inhumane working conditions, work hours and then failure to pay these workers correctly.” In a statement, Baiada said it had instigated a review into the matters raised in the Four Corners program and “any non-compliance issues” identified will be “swiftly addressed”. “Baiada is committed to the fair treatment of employees, as well as any labour hire and contractor employee that works in the supply chain,” a spokesperson said. “We confirm that any mistreatment of workers or denial of their proper entitlements is a serious breach of Baiada’s policies and contractual terms and will not be tolerated.” Wolcott Group director Robert Moore, who irrigates at Manilla, has launched a challenge against the project’s approval in the NSW Land and Environment Court, with the matter returning to court on May 26.