Dear Steakholders,

We hope you are all keeping safe and healthy during this challenging time. Our thoughts are with those affected, and with the healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

As the Commonwealth and State Governments step up their response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to assure you that we are stepping up as well.

On Monday, we held our second virtual roundtable to discuss how we plan to adapt to the evolving COVID-19 response and keep the supply chain running. We are confident that we as an industry have the skills and experience to protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, while ensuring a steady supply of high quality and nutritious red meat to consumers in Australia and overseas. Our full media release can be downloaded here.

What’s happening today:

  • Minister Littleproud held an animal industry supply chain roundtable and confirmed the Federal and State approach that red meat, livestock and other inputs and services are considered essential services and should operate on a business-as-usual basis
  • New border controls are in place in WA, SA, NT, Queensland and Tasmania. New protocols as they are published can be found here.
  • It is now illegal for Australian’s to travel overseas, with a range of additional shutdowns in place from midnight tonight
  • The Australian Government will send a text message to every Australian phone, with advice on how to prevent community transmission and how each citizen can help in the fight against COVID-19
  • The PM has announced the creation of a new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission to coordinate advice on anticipating and mitigating economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic
  • Mark Tucker will be the Government’s Senior Agriculture Industry Engagement Officer, and act as key liaison to agriculture, fisheries and forestry stakeholders who have been affected. Contact Mark at 0434 879 770 or Mark.Tucker@agriculture.gov.au

What you need to know:

Business

  • Red Meat 2030 partners are working on an Australian Red Meat and Livestock Industry Ongoing Pandemic Response to assist business continuity and minimize risk to staff and customers. This includes immediate action plans to:
    • Ensure food supply chains continue to operate nationally: Working with State and Federal justifications on a food supply chain emergency management plan
    • Ensure business continuity: Providing advice to the whole-of-supply chain on new pop up regulations. We are providing two critical information packs, and are updating both daily
        1.  COVID-19 Resources Toolkit
          Tracks key economic support and new public health measures

        2. Border Controls Overview
          Borders are currently closing or have closed and businesses experiencing any difficulties at the border are strongly advised to contact their Peak Industry Council. Businesses are strongly advised to report any disruptions to their Peak Industry Council for this to be escalated to the relevant authority
           
      • Triaging tasks: For the immediate, near term and post-pandemic for the Australian red meat and livestock industry. We have developed an 8 point action plan to ensure we continue to provide the industry with key information as it comes to hand.
    • All Red Meat 2030 partners have implemented cohesive work-from-home staff policies, consistent with the Prime Minister’s most recent advice.
    • All Australian red meat and livestock businesses are actively working to respond to new public health measures and regulations

Government

  • Industry is working actively with the Federal Government and State Jurisdictions to ensure continuity of food supply (often referred to as essential services) in any future public health measures taken
  • The Council of Australian Governments should waive fees and charges for all red meat businesses across the chain, defer non-essential regulatory reviews, and implement an immediate payroll tax holiday for business of any scale as part of a broader stimulus
  • The red meat and livestock industry are considering further economic and other initiatives that will specifically support our businesses to supply food to Australians and overseas
  • Availability of testing must increase significantly to expedite treatment and containment as well as eliminate unnecessary isolation and allow employees to return to the workforce 

Customers  

  • At this stage we will continue to meet the high demand for high quality and nutritious red meat in Australian and global markets. This will require ongoing coordination and support from all supply chains and all levels of government
  • Retail shopfronts for butchers and supermarkets are still operating. However, the health and safety of our employees and customers is critical
  • We again ask all to practice the recommended social distancing and courteous behaviour at shopfronts to play your part in limiting transmission of COVID-19

What’s next:

Upcoming events

  • 27 March: Agricultural Minister’s Forum (AGMIN) to meet virtually
  • 30 March: Red Meat 2030 standing virtual roundtable on COVID-19 

 Next communication

We know there is a vast amount of COVID-19 related correspondence. We are attempting to limit our communications to essential information only.

  • Sunday Roundup will be sent out on 29 March 2020
  • We will issue any alerts on a ‘need to know’ basis where we feel there is no alternative
  • We will upload information to our Industry Updates on our website as it comes to hand

 For further information 

COVID-19 is a complex public health situation and is moving quickly. The following key contacts will assist by connecting you with the most appropriate person to speak to within the industry.

Operational Liaison: Anna Neelagama, 0448 692 245, anna@rmac.com.au

Media Liaison: Stephen Woodhill, 0413 318 455