Cootamundra Meatworks’ closure

The announcement of Cootamundra Meatworks’ closure is a devastating blow for the community.

This means around 200 jobs will go in Cootamundra, with the factory set to close next Friday.

As Cootamundra’s largest employer, the impact of this for the Meatworks’ workers, their families, friends and the community will be hard-felt right across the region, as well as in local butchers and other small businesses to which the Meatworks is a supplier.

I have discussed this and how the Federal Government can assist with several senior Federal Ministers today. These include Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, as well as Regional Development Minister and local Senator Fiona Nash, Social Services Minister Christian Porter, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

We are mobilising Centrelink and Employment staff to provide assistance to affected workers in Cootamundra from early next week.

I have also spoken to local mayors and district leaders, as well as to State Member for Cootamundra Katrina Hodgkinson, about how together we can assist our local workers and our local communities.

I will continue to work with the community and the Federal and State Governments to make available support and assistance in employment transition and up-skilling, as well as support through Centrelink and other Government agencies, such as jobactive.

I have also contacted the owners of other Meatworks around the region to encourage the employment of Cootamundra staff.

Personal and financial counselling will be made available in Cootamundra from Monday and I encourage workers to use these services.

I am in Cootamundra this afternoon and will work alongside locals and the Federal Government in helping those who need it at this very difficult time.

Cristy Houghton