King Island beef brand to live on with abattoir rescue package

Posted by James Ferre on 23rd December 2009

Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett yesterday advised of a $12 million rescue package that will “save every job at the King Island abattoir and ensure the long-term future of the renowned beef brand”.

Mr Bartlett said the finalisation of the deal had been a long time coming due to a number of complexities.

“I am particularly pleased that we have been able to deliver this community some good news before Christmas,” he said. “My goal was to save every single job and that has been achieved – in fact this deal means more jobs will be created on King Island.”

The Government has agreed to provide a 15-year $12 million loan to facilitate a significant capital investment program by JBS Swift.

“The loan will support a capital investment program worth $14 million which will allow the company to upgrade facilities and improve operational efficiency,” Mr Bartlett advised. “Up to 20 additional long-term jobs are expected to be created as a result of the upgrades.

“This money will secure the establishment of a world-class processing facility on King Island and ensure its ongoing viability.”

When JBS Swift announced the closure of the abattoir in March the Tasmanian Government offered financial assistance to the company to keep the abattoir operating while a review was undertaken.

“King Island could simply not afford to lose these jobs and an industry so important to the local economy,” Mr Bartlett noted. “This has been a collaborative effort. It is widely recognised King Island beef is an iconic brand and the abattoir is crucial to this island’s economy.”

“The processing of beef on the island gives credibility to the King Island brand and the marketing and promotional synergies with other island-branded products are crucial.”