Workers leave JBS meatworks at Dinmore on Tuesday.
Workers leave JBS meatworks at Dinmore on Tuesday.

Senator confirms support for meat workers

MEAT workers who will be out of work for a fortnight from Monday will receive assistance accessing information about their rights to income support, according to LNP senator Paul Scarr.

The JBS meat processing plant at Dinmore will shut down for two weeks from Monday August 24 and stand down more than 1,700 staff who have already been struggling with cuts to shifts in recent months.

Mr Scarr said the government was mobilising resources to ensure every JBS worker and family gets the correct information about their right to income support, including providing services to help workers whose English skills may be limited.

"I know how important JBS is as an employer in Ipswich. I have spoken with Minister Stu Robert, the Minister for Government Services and Minister Anne Ruston, the Minister for Families and Social Services. They understand the seriousness of the situation," he said.

Senator Paul Scarr
Senator Paul Scarr

"Services Australia is now working directly with the company to make it as easy as possible for workers to get the correct information.

"For workers not entitled to JobSeeker or other income support directly from Government, there are other emergency services available."

Mr Scarr said not everyone was aware of the changes the Government made to eligibility requirements for JobSeeker and related social security benefits.

"Help is now available for workers who have been temporarily stood down and those who are still working but have had their hours or income reduced," he said.

"A worker who has been stood down may be eligible for JobSeeker and other benefits depending on the circumstances.

"It is critical that workers contact the Australian Government and see whether or not they are eligible."

He said any entitlements will be backdated to the date of the initial claim.

JBS Meatworks and abattoir at Dinmore. Beef cattle processing and kill floor.
JBS Meatworks and abattoir at Dinmore. Beef cattle processing and kill floor.

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann called for immediate changes to support the workers last week, and to help them access JobKeeper.

He also said workers were unable to access JobSeeker payments either as they are still technically employed, which means they will have no income.

Mr Scarr has claimed statements that workers who have been temporarily stood down cannot receive JobSeeker and related social security payments were wrong.

Mr Neumann said issues still weren't being addressed around employees' access to JobKeeper and providing pandemic leave to workers.

He also said the government needed to do more to amend its relationship with China, after the country blocked imports from four major Australian abattoirs.

Mr Scarr said JobKeeper rules apply to all businesses across Australia,.

Mr Scarr, who went to high school in Ipswich, plans to open a new office in the Ipswich Region from the start of September.

He invited any workers or their families who are having difficulty accessing information to contact his office.