Workers affected by the pending closure of two major employers will be given priority when trying to access services and help.
Workers affected by the pending closure of two major employers will be given priority when trying to access services and help. Inga Williams

Workers given priority ahead of special forum

THE STATE Government has sprung to action to help limit the fall out from the loss of almost 1000 jobs in the Ipswich region.

A special forum run by the State Government will be held in October to highlight employment and training opportunities, although details for the meeting are yet to finalised.

The Department of State Development has liaised with both companies, Churchill abattoir and Baiada, to provide assistance "where appropriate".

The QT understands, behind the scenes, numerous local, federal and state government agencies are working to help secure the investors needed to transform Churchill Abattoir into an export facility, which would allow it to re-open within the next 12 months.

"As part of our support for the affected workers and their families, the Queensland Government will be holding an employment and training forum in Ipswich in October to link affected workers with career, job and training opportunities," a department spokesperson said.

"Churchill Abattoir has stated its intention is to re-open in six to 12 months as an export abattoir.

"The Department will work with the company during this period to provide all possible assistance."

Australian Meat Industry Employees' Union Queensland Branch secretary Matt Journeaux said negotiations with other meat processing plants were in full swing, but there would not be enough capacity to employ 900 extra staff.

"It's probably a bit early yet to say where these people can get a job but we are in talks with other meat processing plants around the area and they have been positive," Mr Journeaux said.

He said businesses with jobs available should get in touch with the union.

"It will have a devastating impact on the local Ipswich community because we are talking about 900 wages taken out of the local economy so the flow-on effect will be significant. ," he said.

"The meat industry is quite volatile so we definitely see this from time to time.

Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard plans to meet with workers directly next month.

"The state government is doing everything it can," Ms Howard said.

"A number of levels of government and agencies are being proactive on supporting the workers.

"The ideal situation would be that we can help support the abattoir get back into operation."

Workers given priority assistance

STAFF from Centrelink will speak directly to affected workers in Ipswich next month.

The Minister forHuman Services has confirmed to Federal MP Shayne Neumann the 750 workers directly affected by the pending closure of two major facilities will be given priority when lodging claims for assistance.

About 230 more workers, including those on farms, will also be affected by the two separate decisions.

Starting September 14, sessions will be held in Ipswich with the department sending a small contingent of staff to advise workers.

There will be six staff at each session, Mr Neumann said, including a financial information service officer and a social worker.

Additional staff will be deployed on short notice if required.

A spokesperson for the Department said affected workers should make contact as soon as possible for assistance.

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