Morrison Government Must Provide Greater Support to Meat Processing Industry

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters is calling on the Federal Government to provide greater support for the meat processing and food manufacturing industry.

For COVID19 Health and safety reasons, the Victorian Government has imposed restrictions for meat processing facilities across the state, including staff reductions to 66 per cent in red-meat plants and 80 per cent reductions at chicken processing facilities.

“These restrictions will have a major impact on the production capability of local businesses including Hazeldenes, Don KR and Hardwicks,” Chesters said.

“I am deeply concerned for the welfare of these businesses, their workers and whole sector. These businesses are three of our largest employers in the electorate. 

“More must be done to grant them early access to JobKeeper. 

“It’s inevitable that financial turnover will reduce. The Federal Government could allow them to access JobKeeper now, before needing to prove months of financial downturn, in order to keep staff paid and on the books.”

According to the Australian Food and Grocery Council, food and grocery manufacturing makes up 3,578 jobs in the Bendigo electorate.

“For staff, the restrictions could mean less shifts or limited hours. These workers need greater security and the Federal Government should offer that support,” Chesters said.

“I have written to the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg to raise this important issue.

“If the Morrison Government is serious about saving as many local jobs as possible, they must consider grant early access to JobKeeper to this critical industry.”