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JBS King Island Abattoir Closure

12 September 2012

AUSTRALIA - The Acting Premier of Tasmania Bryan Green is to meet the King Island Council and local community following the decision to close the island's abattoir.

Mr Green will be accompanied by senior Government officials to assess the impact of the closure.

Australian meat processor JBS Australia has said it is to close its King Island beef processing plant because it is unprofitable.

According to a statement from the company's new chief executive, Andre Nogueira, the King Island plant, which employs just over 100 workers, had not been profitable since it was taken over by the Brazilian processing group.

The plant closure follows the closure of the company's Riverina feedlot in New South Wales earlier this year.

The plant has been closed because of the high cost of utilities and export freight costs and the variability of cattle supply.

"This is a major blow to King Island and the Government's immediate focus is on supporting those who will be affected and looking at future opportunities," Mr Green said.

"I want a first-hand understanding of the impacts the closure will have on the community and the broader King Island economy.

"This is a resilient community and the Government will work in partnership with it through these difficult times," Mr Green said.

"I am positive about King Island's future and the Government will do whatever it can to help facilitate opportunities that will provide employment and support the local economy," Mr Green said.

At the announcement of the closure, Mr Green said he was deeply disappointed by the decision of JBS Australia to close its King Island abattoir.

"The Government has done everything possible to help keep the operation going and the closure is undoubtedly a blow to the community," Mr Green said.

"Our immediate focus now is on the individuals and families who will be affected.

"The Government has stood by King Islanders as we tried to keep the abattoir open and we will be there for them now."

Mr Green added: "We will be assessing the impact of the closure on King Island's economy, ways to support affected employees and farmers and look at any opportunities to provide new employment opportunities.

Mr Green said the Government had provided significant financial assistance to JBS including a A$12 million loan for a major upgrade of the abattoir, which had been repaid in full.

"However, despite its best efforts, JBS said the facility was simply not commercially viable and it would be closing it," Mr Green said.

Mr Green said JBS had advised the Government it would look at redeploying staff wherever possible and that it was looking at expanding beef and lamb operations at its Longford abattoir.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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