Peter Gutwein, Minister for State Growth
Tasmanian Quality Meats will take over the Devonport City Abattoir on Tuesday to continue the processing of pork in Tasmania.
Since the announcement last month, the Government has been working closely with JBS and Tasmanian Quality Meats (TQM) to ensure a continuation of pork processing at the site for at least the next two years. I am pleased to confirm that agreement has been reached between JBS and TQM to commence operations at the facility next Tuesday and I want to express my gratitude for the way they have engaged to find a solution for pork in a short period of time.
TQM expect to employ 18 staff to continue to operate the pig line and I understand that in total around 30 of the affected JBS workers will remain employed in the industry and there are strong signs for new job opportunities for affected workers who are highly trained and have highly transferable skills, such as safe food handling.
The Skills Response Unit will now move to convene a further meeting of potential employers within the next 10 days to discuss further employment opportunities and pre-employment training that would enhance the workers’ employment opportunities.
Productive discussions have been undertaken with industry, other service providers and small butchers over the last few weeks and I would like to personally thank these parties for their support over this difficult period and willingness to work with government constructively
Whilst the supply chain will be disrupted and I expect the transition period to be difficult, I want to thank the other abattoir facilities that have come forward to offer their services so that the supply of beef and lamb to the domestic market can be maintained albeit with some business models changing.
We will continue to work with these abattoirs to increase their existing capacity to ensure continuation of supply but also to create more jobs and opportunity for the broader industry.
The task now is for government and industry to work collaboratively to implement strategies to manage this short term disruption and to ensure we have a long term sustainable industry to underpin a viable supply chain, including appropriate on-island processing and marketing to leverage the Tasmanian brand proposition.
The Government had a grant deed in place with JBS for $780,000 of which approximately $360,000 was drawn down and invested into equipment in the plant which will now support the ongoing operation of the business under TQM. The Government will consider how the remaining funding can be utilised to support the red meat industry through the transition period as smaller abattoirs scale up and gaps in the beef and sheep supply chain emerge and the Minister for Primary Industries will have more to say on the way forward in coming days.
Whilst the terms of the agreement between JBS and TQM are a commercial matter for them, the State Government has agreed to support TQM with its trade waste costs as the system was designed for much higher throughput than what the abattoir will use now for the production of pigs only.
Any businesses either affected by the JBS announcement, or with the capacity to contribute to the continuation of a sustainable meat industry, should contact us through the Business Tasmania hotline on phone 1800 440 026 – which is our central contact register.
Contact details for those abattoirs that have put forward their names are published on the State Growth website at: www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/news/devonport_city_abattoir