Close to 35% of the manufacturing workforce in Ipswich is involved in the food industry with close to 5,000 of the sector's 16,000 workers depending on roles in food production.
Close to 35% of the manufacturing workforce in Ipswich is involved in the food industry with close to 5,000 of the sector's 16,000 workers depending on roles in food production. Bev Lacey

Ipswich's most significant industry for jobs

FOOD production is among the most significant employers in Ipswich, new research shows.

Close to 35% of the manufacturing workforce in Ipswich is involved in the food industry with close to 5,000 of the sector's 16,000 workers depending on roles in food production.

A Jobs Queensland report, A Workforce Report and Action Plan for the Manufacturing Industry in Ipswich details the 16 manufacturing sectors in Ipswich. The most people worked in food production, the least, nine people, in petrol and coal production.

The JBS meatworks Dinmore site and Primo Foods at Wacol employ 3,500 people alone but 500 jobs were slashed from the industry when Churchill Abattoir closed this year.

Another 250 jobs were cut when chicken processing plant Steggles closed their Wulkuraka operations in January.

JBS director John Berry said the company employed 1,400 people at the Primo Foods site at Wacol and another 2,100 at JBS at Dinmore.

He said it was vital state and federal governments appreciated the impact of food manufacturing industries on regional employment rates.

JBS director John Berry
JBS director John Berry Sarah Harvey

"At JBS Australia, we offer well paid, permanent and career opportunities," Mr Berry said.

" We employ team members with a diverse range of skills and embody a strong team culture, and recognise that the ability to meet and exceed our goals comes from the people who work within our business.

"From a government perspective, both the state and federal governments need to understand the importance of meat and food manufacturing to the economy.

"JBS Australia is actively working with the state and federal governments on addressing a reduction in regulation, red tape and government costs to support improved international competitiveness for major meat and food processing operations."

Food manufacturing jobs include packers, meat, poultry and seafood process workers, steel and welding, meat boners, slicers and slaughterers, food and drink factory workers, machinery operators, sales assistants and store people.

More than 880 work as packers.

While food product manufacturing was the largest employing sector in Ipswich, some of the city's smaller employing sectors, such as paper and tobacco production, where significant to the state's manufacturing industry, with Ipswich accounting for more than one fifth of the state's employment in each of those sectors, the report showed.

Manufacturing businesses in Ipswich generated export revenue of more than $4.4b in the 2016-17, representing more than 50% of exports from the local government area.

Share of employment by manufacturing

Food production: 4960

Transport equipment: 1364

Metal: 1938

Chemicals: 865

Non-metallic minerals: 844

Machinery and equipment: 865

Beverage and tobacco product: 602

Furniture: 552

Rubber: 531

Wood: 340

Pulp and paper: 318

Printing: 254

Textiles: 166

Petrol and coal: 9

Not further defined: 761



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