DERAILED: JBS spokesman John Berry called for a quick solution to the cattle wagon problem.
DERAILED: JBS spokesman John Berry called for a quick solution to the cattle wagon problem. Sarah Harvey

Wagons return 'critical' for 2000 jobs at Ipswich meatworks

RETURNING livestock wagons to Queensland's railway network before the year's cattle season begins has been described as "critical" for the 2000 jobs at JBS Dinmore meatworks.

Concerns about the quality and safety of new cattle wagons caused transport company Aurizon to enact a temporary suspension of livestock rail services last year.

The suspension allowed Aurizon to undertake an audit of the livestock containers.

JBS spokesman John Berry praised the review of the containers but confirmed a solution needed to be found before JBS' processing operations increased in March.

"Livestock rail is critical to Dinmore, Australia's largest beef processing facility and the 2000 jobs there," he said.

"Livestock rail is critical to our business in terms of efficient, volumetric transport of cattle."

JBS is the largest user of livestock rail in Queensland.

Mr Berry said the company was working through the process and undergoing "very proactive" talks with the government.

A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said it was working closely with Aurizon and no customers had been harmed due to the wagon derailment.

"Those rail services were replaced by a road service," he said.

"No customers were disadvantaged throughout this process and all orders were met.

"It is not currently cattle season, so rail services are not required, however, every effort is being made to identify and resolve any issues in time for the 2018 cattle season."

Mr Berry said the Dinmore processing plant was closed when the wagons were taken offline, avoiding problems with livestock supply.

But with it scheduled to reopen next week and slowly increase production after March, Mr Berry said it was vital a solution was found.

He acknowledged the situation was "unfortunate" but said a plan was in place to return the wagons to the line.

"We believe the program is in place, hopefully, we'll get it up in next few weeks," he said.