JBS walks from Devonport abattoir, producers in limbo

JBS walks from Devonport abattoir


Made in Tasmania
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JBS Australia will permanently close its Devonport City domestic-serve processing plant in Tasmania this week.

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Closed: The Devonport City abattoir will put at risk local butcher competition on producer lines of cattle, sheep and pigs.Photo by Simon Sturzaker.

Closed: The Devonport City abattoir will put at risk local butcher competition on producer lines of cattle, sheep and pigs.Photo by Simon Sturzaker.

JBS Australia will permanently close its Devonport City domestic processing plant in Tasmania, purchased in a deal with Joe Catalfamo’s Tasman Group in 2008.

JBS director John Berry said the plant has been unprofitable for several years due to variable supply in livestock numbers and the spiraling costs of processing.

“It’s an old plant that has out-lived its productive life,” Mr Berry said.

“It has only worked three to four days a week for the past 12 to 18 months. That’s not good for the bottom-line costs and it is not consistent work for the plant’s staff.”

Mr Berry said the 105 employees that staffed the plant were mostly casual employees.

“Those who have sought to work at our other plants located throughout Australia have had those requests accessed on a case by case basis.” he said.

Mr Berry said the Devonport plant had not been offered for sale.

JBS have engaged in talks in the State Government and Tasmania Meat Company regarding the continuation of the pig kill only, but Mr Berry said there had been no resolution from to those discussions.

According to reports the facility processes most of Tasmania’s pigs, and can process up to 200 cattle, 600 pigs and 3800 sheep per week.

ALPA president Warren Johnston said the abattoir closure had created a “sticky situation” for the local butcher community.

“There’s been a scramble to find a butchers’ kill within Tasmania, which we believe have been found, but it is only a short term fix at the moment,” he said. 

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