12 Sept 2021
The announcement last month by the Victorian Premier that Melbourne abattoir and meat processing facilities in metropolitan Melbourne would be subject to workforce capacity restrictions continues to impact the industry and greatly concern producers and processors.
“The new arrangements announced last month to limit the movement and wide-spread infection of the corona virus in Melbourne with a 20 percent reduction in workforce, as well as increased surveillance testing still has no clear direction on that process despite repeated requested from industry.” Stephen Crisp Sheep Producers Australia CEO.
“The meat processors showed last year that they were essential and invested millions of dollars in COVID safe plans, PPE and COVID marshal training. It is of the upmost importance that meat processors are able to operate to avoid the large scale impact on sheep producers who will have to carry stock longer, and possibly supplement feed, sell into a market without the usual buying competition.” Mr Crisp.
Preliminary figures provided by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) on the possible impact of Victorian processor restrictions show, at a normal processing spring season for lamb, the restrictions, if applied across all Victoria, would see a surplus of almost 1 million lambs.
“Even at the current restrictions on Metro abattoirs, there would be around 250,000 surplus lambs, which would not be able to be processed in NSW as was shown to have happened last year. As the Vic buyers are prominent in NSW, TAS, SA, and they process around half of Australia’s lambs, this is a national problem for producers.”
“It is disappointing that there was no consultation with the meat industry prior to the announcement. This ill-informed decision has forced processors to reset their forecast for production. With Victoria easing its regional restrictions we hope that this may lead to an easing of the restrictions for metro processing plants.” Mr Crisp.
Stephen Crisp SPA CEO
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