Australia’s red meat and livestock industries produce, manufacture and deliver a range of essential food services and products. These have been in high demand in Australia’s butchers and retailers as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as our 100+ export markets.

Our complex, national supply chain spanning producers, lot feeders, livestock exporters, processors, manufacturers, transporters, saleyards and professional services – such as vets, other allied health professionals and agents – are working hard to meet this demand.

We want to continue to supply Australians and the world with health, staple and nutritious red meat and have no plans to change this.

We are working actively to introduce new public health and hygiene strategies on farm, feedlot, processing plant, export facilities and retailers to minimise risk to our staff and customers in the fight against COVID-19.

We have welcomed confirmation by the Federal Government and the States and Territories that food supply chains will be considered essential services under ongoing new public health measures.[1]

Businesses that are not essential services have been specifically defined by exclusion by States and Territories.

Nationwide, this does not include the Australian red meat and livestock supply chain. That means it is business as usual.

 There are however new rules in different regions for the freight of food and livestock and the movement of staff which must be adhered to. These are outlined here. [2]

Businesses experiencing difficulties with any of new measures should report them immediately to their Peak Industry Council (PIC) for escalation to the relevant authority.

A complex supply chain: From retail to farm gate

Our industry operates a complex and national supply chain. To illustrate this complexity, here are some key examples of products and services within the daily operations of our supply chain.

Transporters and livestock freight

  • Truck delivery and transport of livestock; cattle, sheep and goats.
  • Cold logistics transportation of meat and meat products

Retailers

Butchers

Wholesalers/ DC/ packing facilities

Livestock production

  • Access to animal health products, tags and supplements
  • Including farm to farm movements and sales
  • Shearers
  • Lamb marking, mulesing and dipping contractors
  • General contract stock workers covering a range of animal husbandry type services (non-vet).

Livestock Processors

  • Meat processor and manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, smallgood manufacturers)
  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail
  • Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees
  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and block-chain managers
  • Production of food packaging

Holding facilities/ livestock export depots

Saleyards / online sales

  • Independent retailing of meat and meat products, including smallgoods
  • Supermarket retailing of meat and meat products, including smallgoods
  • Export related services including freight forwarding, Non Packer export and sea and air freight management
  • Traveling livestock buyers

Feedlots

  • Includes grain shipping from and through ports (from WA to east coast ports) and freight of grain upcountry, fodder freight across borders,
  • The provision of livestock supplements and agvet medicine freight across borders,
  • Livestock freight movements to processing facilities within and across borders
  • Professional services such as Veterinarians and Livestock Feed Nutritionists within and across borders

Other inputs and services

  • Fodder / water
  • Grain
  1. The need for feed manufacturers and the provision of feed to continue to trade across borders
  2. Confirmation received (NSW) that stock feed, as a key input to livestock and hence meat, will be exempt from cross border transport restrictions.

Chemicals / feed supplements

Livestock pharmaceuticals / AgVet chemicals

Other supplies e.g.

  • Fencing
  • pet and animal feed processing facilities;
  • human food facilities producing by-products for animal food;
  • Hide and tannery production

Other essential services to the red meat and livestock sector including but not limited to

  • Vets
  • Pregnancy scanners (non-vet)
  • Nutritionists
  • Inspectors
  • Traveling livestock buyers

[1] https://rmac.com.au/australias-food-production-and-supply-chain-will-not-be-affected-by-coronavirus-shutdowns/

[2] https://rmac.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/30-March_Border-Advice.pdf