IT looks like it could be a Christmas with a little less cheer for about 450 Central Queensland meat workers.
Teys Australia has announced it will close its Biloela abattoir for seven weeks over Christmas, following a shortage of cattle.
The meat processor and export giant announced the Biloela meatworks, the company's second biggest Australian operation, would close from November 26 to January 18, adding three weeks to the normal shutdown period.
Teys general manager of corporate services Tom Maguire said the staff would take annual leave for the first four weeks but the remaining three would be leave without pay.
"Our primary focus is that we've got 450 people working at Biloela and we are doing everything we can to help them manage through the extended shut down," Mr Maguire said.
The main reason behind the shutdown was an extreme shortage of cattle.
Mr Maguire said over the past two years there had been record cattle exported and killed in Australia.
He said this was because of dry conditions, particularly in Queensland, where cattle had been sold off.
"Really simply, we've either live exported or killed next year's cattle... the cattle simply aren't there to process," he said.
As for the Rockhampton meatworks, Mr Maguire said a decision was still to be made about when it would close for the Christmas period.
"We haven't made any decisions yet but we might have to look at those operations in light of reduced cattle supply," he said.
"We are certainly looking at our other plant... cattle shortages aren't unique to Biloela, we are feeling them across Queensland."
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