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    Frewstal abattoir in Stawell.

Abattoir win across region

Meat processors with a staff of less than 25 will be exempt from the State Government’s two-thirds staffing rule.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the exemption represented a win for small regional businesses.

Last week the government announced it would introduce measures making it mandatory for meat processors to reduce their workforce by a third.

This was due to COVID-19 clusters at meatworks in Melbourne during the first wave of the pandemic in Victoria.

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Ms Kealy immediately urged the government to rethink its ruling, which she feared would have crippled regional operations with few staff, and implement an exemption for small businesses.

She said the exemption announced on Thursday would allow small processors to remain open, keeping people employed and avoiding a compromise on food supply.

“To make abattoirs with only a handful of staff to decrease their workforce by a third would have forced some of them into closure. The consequences for those businesses and their workers – plus the flow-on effects for the community – would have been awful,” she said.

“The one-size-fits-all approach to this industry was never going to be practical for businesses in our region.

“The decision to exempt meat processors with less than 25 staff from having to cut their workforces is a rational move. It will ensure these businesses can continue to employ a full workforce and maintain their vital link in our community’s food supply chain.”

Last week Member for Ripon Louise Staley called for community and government agencies to ensure meatworkers who might be affected by the changes in her electorate had support.

The changes have added operational pressure to large Ararat and Stawell meat-processing plants that both employ hundreds of workers.

The entire August 12, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!