Lakes Creek has few lifelines

HUNDREDS of south-Queensland abattoir workers facing uncertain job futures may not receive any lifelines from Rockhampton.

The workers are awaiting an announcement about the future of two meat-processing plants on the Darling Downs.

The Leitch Pastoral Group stood down 230 staff at an abattoir at Killarney, near Warwick, and a food-processing plant at Pittsworth, near Toowoomba, on Monday.

Production has ceased and the workers have been told not to show up for work for the rest of this week, pending an announcement tomorrow about the future of the businesses.

Yesterday Tom Maguire, general manager of corporate affairs for Teys Bros, said the company was not currently looking for employees at its Lakes Creek plant in Rockhampton.

He was not willing to comment on the Darling Downs situation.

Teys’ Lakes Creek plant reopened on Tuesday after being closed due to heavy rain.

Lakes Creek employs 760 people.

Swift Australia director and manager of corporate and regulatory affairs, John Berry, said he was not aware of the Leitch Pastoral Group’s situation and was reluctant to comment on it in particular. But he did say it would be a challenging year ahead for all meatworks.

He said Swift’s Townsville abattoir had laid off 267 workers over the past year.

Swift’s Rockhampton plant employs a total of 537 people.

A government rapid response team has been sent to investigate the best available options to save the Darling Downs jobs.

Premier Anna Bligh this week said if there were no viable options to save the processing plants, the government would help the workers get jobs with other companies or retrain.

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