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MP's Meatworks Concerns

MP's Meatworks Concerns

MP Roma Britnell Speaks With Agriculture Minister Regarding Meatwork Restrictions

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell is working closely with Midfied Meat General Manager Dean McKenna to support the business through significant restrictions, which is set to see more than 300 people out of work.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced widespread restrictions on the Meatworks industry yesterday, which will see the industry only able to operate at two thirds production, while abattoir workers will require full PPE, and be subject to routine testing.

Ms Britnell said she has spoken with Mr McKenna several times over the past 24 hours and has spoken personally with the Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes, alerting her to potential unintended problems which need to be sorted out before they were enforced.

“Access to PPE will be one of those issues, I have reports from medical and care facilities in the region they have had trouble accessing enough PPE for their staff"

"If we suddenly throw abattoirs into the mix those supplies will be even further strained,” she said.

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“I’m hopeful the Minister for Agriculture will be able to take action on some of the issues that this will create not only for Midfield, but for the whole food supply chain.”

Ms Britnell said Midfield Meat had been a leader in infection control since the pandemic began, recognising the potential issues and putting procedures in place.

“I think the way they proactively responded to a potential close contact, closing for several days and testing all employees shows just how seriously they have been taking the pandemic and its potential impacts.

Speaking yesterday Premier Daniel Andrews said they could not afford risking different settings for metro and regional meatworks.

"Those rules, so two thirds production, PPE much like a health setting, as well as temperature checking and stopping workers working at multiple sites, all of that, that will apply at each of those important facilities right across the state" he said.

"We can't have a situation where such a high risk environment is operating under two different sets of rules, across two different parts of the state".

Ms Britnell said she was also deeply concerned about the loss of 300 plus jobs at the meat works and the impacts that will have.

“The last thing I ever want to see is people out of work, and I am concerned about the wellbeing of those people, they need to be appropriately supported through this,” she said.

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