Meatworks gives refugees a start

TWO Afghan and five Sri Lankan refugees are being given the opportunity to start their new lives with work at a Rockhampton meatworks.

Brad Teys, the boss of Teys Brothers, which owns Lakes Creek meatworks, yesterday welcomed the opportunity to give the refugees a fresh start.

Mr Teys said all of the workers had been formally processed by the immigration department and granted refugee status, making them Australian.

He was responding to Morning Bulletin enquiries after a number of reports that refugees were living in accommodation houses across Rockhampton.

The settlement of asylum seekers has been a major issue in Australia in recent months.

But Mr Teys said the city had a good history of welcoming new arrivals.

He said the company would make sure the workers were ably supported to fit into the community.

“We have a good history in Rockhampton of integrating different nationalities,” Mr Teys said.

“We have had good success bringing in the Brazilians and Vietnamese.

“I think we’ve got 21 different nationalities at the plant.

“I don’t think people should be concerned; there’s not going to be a huge influx of refugees.”

He said the company had looked to hire local people first.

“We are looking for workers and are advertising for more people,” Mr Teys said.

“Certainly, we are looking at recruiting locally first, but it’s proving tough.

“If we could get 100 Aussies eager and willing to work, we would put them on.

“But if we have to look further afield that’s what we will do as well.

“I think people who have come through the system, I’m not sure if they’ve come from Christmas Island or not, but they are Australians and obviously we can’t discriminate.”

Currently the meatworks employs about 900 workers.

He said the industry outlook was far better now than at the start of the year.

“The rain this year has been excellent.”



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