SOUTH Coast MP Shelley Hancock has ruled out the Manildra Group's starch and ethanol plant at Bomaderry as a COVID "venue of concern".
"I have ruled out the Manildra plant as a venue of concern," she said.
"The only venue of concern that remains is Bunnings, that had one positive cases that spread to five. We know where they are linked to and we believe they are not linked to Manildra."
For more than a week after the detection of COVID-19 fragments in Bomaderry's sewage treatment plant and subsequent 14 positive cases in the Shoalhaven, speculation has been running rife about where the cases have come from.
There has been unconfirmed word of cases at one of the region's largest employers, Manildra's Shoalhaven Starches and ethanol plant on Bolong Road, something the company, NSW Health, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and even the Australian Workers Union (AWU) will not comment on, or even confirm or deny.
SafeWork NSW, although saying it is a "requirement to notify SafeWork NSW of confirmed exposures of COVID in a workplace setting, as well as cases where COVID has been contracted in the workplace", said it "is not in a position to reveal any data in relation to workplace exposures due to privacy and legal requirements."
Confusion and rumours are running rampant among the community and on social media about further potential exposure sites, with Mrs Hancock saying the community should not worry about cases in certain sites as only "high-risk" venues of concern are released by NSW Health.
I have ruled out the Manildra plant as a venue of concern.South Coast MP Shelley Hancock
"Manildra has been absolutely clear about their concern about this and they have undertaken cleansing and testing and ensuring their workers are safe," she said.
It's known that a number of Manildra staff on last Wednesday's day shift, from such sections as the starch plant, general duties and the environment farm, were COVID tested on site, as were staff on the night shift.
It is also understood that toilet areas have also undergone a deep clean.
The Manildra Bomaderry site is a hive of activity with ongoing upgrade and expansion works, with a number of contractors working on site in the fabrication, building and electrical industries, including some from outside the area.
Numerous trucks arrive day and night at the location, many travelling from all over the state, while there is also regular daily rail services coming into and out of the site.
Manildra runs Shoalhaven Starches from its Bomaderry operation, the largest wheat, starch and gluten plant of its kind in the world, operating in conjunction with a world-first ethanol distillery which extracts value added products from 100 per cent of the wheat grain using most advanced industry technology available.
The company also operates an environmental farm adjacent to its starch factory at Bolong, which supports beef cattle and irrigation programs where an advanced water treatment plant recycles tens of millions of litres of water annually for re-use in the integrated manufacturing processes and produces methane for energy.
The Manildra Group was contacted multiple times for comment.