The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) has welcomed the federal and state government’s response to protect food supply chains across Australia, actively addressing meat processing, manufacturing and distribution issues as part of the wider food supply chain easing isolation rules.
On 10 January, the National Cabinet endorsed the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) interim guidance on permissions and restrictions for workers in food and grocery supply.
AMIC, among Australian food and grocery bodies, big supermarkets and the transport industry, called on the federal government to address close contact isolation rules impacting essential food chain supply workers. The warning of a supply shortage since being experienced.
“AMIC was on the front foot with government immediately after hearing from our members that they are experiencing a serious wave of staffing unpredictability,” AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson said.
“We welcome National Cabinet’s endorsement today of the medical expert panel’s new set of arrangements, which allows workers who are close contacts, to return to work if they have no symptoms and are fully vaccinated.”
Hutchinson said this is a great outcome to support Australia’s food production and supply chain capacity and to feed Australians.
“I thank our representatives in state and federal government for listening, consulting with us and responding to our concerns with this action,” he said.
“AMIC will work with its meat processing and manufacturing members on the implementation of the new guidelines and relevant state-based rules. The issue of access to free or low-cost RATs for our industry which is deemed critical, and prioritised PCR testing and turnarounds, remains a challenge to be addressed by government, and we will be continuing discussions on this.”