Abattoir at maximum production
WORK at JBS Swift Australia’s Ipswich meat-processing facility is back to full production after being badly affected by last month’s devastating floods.
Rising waters damaged parts of the Dinmore plant and transport routes were disrupted between the site and major cattle supply areas in central Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Company director John Berry said about 60 workers had their homes damaged in the deluge.
But despite the setbacks, Mr Berry said the site was back to full production, with the full range of shifts back working.
“Flooding of the electrical systems had caused some significant damage, but we were able to get up and going again very quickly,” Mr Berry said.
“We were back operating on January 15, and the following week we were back on production, but not full production.”
He said the priority after flooding subsided was to repair the damaged electrical systems and to process the product they already had in their refrigerators.
It was once those issues were addressed that Mr Berry said the issue of supply was looked at.
With supply lines now operating as normal, he said the plant had been able to run at full capacity for the past two weeks, with some extra shifts available to workers.
“We wanted to get up and running as soon possible for our staff,” he said.
“We’ve had staff affected by the flooding as well, so it’s been hard for them.”
Even before last month’s massive floods hit Ipswich on January 11, the JBS Swifts site at Dinmore had been affected by flooding in central Queensland.
On January 6, Mr Berry told The Queensland Times that sourcing cattle from that area of the state was proving difficult due to the many flooded roads and associated problems with freight train infrastructure.
About 80 per cent of the Dinmore site’s stock arrive by road, with the rest coming by train.
The company also has another facility in Rockhampton, which was severely damaged by the floods.
The Dinmore plant employs more than 2200 staff and can process 3400 head of beef cattle a day.