When Sunwest Food Processing closed its plant in Brisbane, it had to lay off thousands of people

Sunwest Foods is closing its Brisbane plant, laying off more than 20,000 people and laying off about 5,000 more employees in the process.

In a statement, Sunwest said it had announced a voluntary agreement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to pay back about $3.5 million in debt it incurred from the closure of the Brisbane plant.

It also announced that it will hire a second workforce of up to 200 people in Brisbane.

The company said it will offer up to $1,200 in severance pay to all affected employees, and it will pay up to half of any compensation to those affected by the closure.

Sunwest also said it is planning to open a new Brisbane plant in 2019 and is looking to expand the business into the next 20 years.

Sunstream is owned by private equity firm Blackstone.