Thomas Foods promises 350 jobs at new Murray Bridge plant
The meat processing company has started taking expressions of interest in jobs which will become available at its abattoir in 2022.
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Hundreds of jobs are on the horizon at Thomas Foods International’s new meat works near Murray Bridge.
Almost four years after fire destroyed the company’s beef and lamb processing facilities at Northern Heights, buildings are rising above the paddocks at Pallamana, its new home.
In time the new abattoir will employ about 2000 production employees, slaughterpersons, boners, slicers, maintenance workers, livestock handlers and managers.
About 350 will be required when the first stage of construction is finished late next year, down from an earlier estimate of 500.
The company has begun accepting resumes from interested locals.
Members of its human resources team were on hand at a community information event at the Bridgeport Hotel last Thursday, though not authorised to make comment to the media.
Representatives of the Environment Protection Authority and the Murray Bridge council’s planning department were also present.
Playing on a big screen was a video, yet to be released publicly, featuring artists’ impressions of the new factory, including robotic arms loading boxes and a driverless forklift tracking through a warehouse.
The company had previously suggested about 500 workers would be required at the completion of stage one.
TFI CEO Darren Thomas had previously described the fire and its aftermath as an opportunity to build the most advanced meat processing plant in the world.
“Our new Murray Bridge facility will be a showcase of advanced food manufacturing, delivering the highest standards in beef and lamb processing,” he said in a statement.
“We see this facility as setting the industry benchmark for technology, efficiency, environmental sustainability, animal welfare and workplace safety.”
So far the facility is still a work in progress.
Almost 13,500 cubic metres of concrete has been poured at the construction site to support the 1700 tonnes of steel framework being erected there.
The build, which began last December, is about halfway through.
Worker housing remains a problem in need of a solution
It is not yet clear where any workers new to Murray Bridge will live, given the current housing shortage in the district and across regional Australia.
In a statement, TFI said it was working on a housing strategy that would allow it to attract and retain workers.
“We are continuing to engage with a range of stakeholders who can play a constructive role in this, including the Murray Bridge council,” the company said.
“It will require a multi-faceted approach.”