A $1.38 million State Government grant will help retain 50 jobs at iconic South Australian company Thomas Foods International, following last month’s devastating factory fire.
The Regional Development Fund grant is being offered to support a $5.5 million project that will see the meat processing facility’s Lobethal site expanded, helping to boost TFI’s production capability.
The project to increase the site’s freezing capacity will allow for the transfer of 50 jobs, in addition to 340 jobs announced recently by TFI, from Murray Bridge to the Lobethal site, following the recent fire at the company’s Murray Bridge site.
The project will facilitate the installation of an extra freezing plate capable of handling 3,000 cartons per day, helping to boost processing capacity at the Lobethal site.
TFI anticipates that the expansion would be completed within 30 weeks.
Quotes attributable to Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock
This grant offer will help Thomas Foods to remove one of its most significant production barriers at the Lobethal site, which is that it currently doesn’t have enough freezer capacity.
The State Government is doing all it can to support Thomas Foods and its workforce during this difficult time, opening up funding that will support jobs is a key part of that.
I have been working closely with Thomas Foods ever since the devastating fire at Murray Bridge, and this grant is another level of support we are happy to be able to offer.
By boosting freezing capacity and therefore production at the Lobethal site we can ensure another 50 jobs can be retained at the company.
Quotes attributable to Thomas Foods International CEO Darren Thomas
Thomas Foods International welcomes this support from the State Government.
Ever since the fire, TFI’s workforce has been our focus and expanding our freezing capacity at Lobethal will help us to create more jobs at the site.
We are reassured by the support being offered to our workers as industry, Government and local communities join TFI in a united approach.
The State Government has established the Thomas Foods International Fire Coordination Taskforce, chaired by PIRSA Deputy Chief Executive Mehdi Doroudi, to assist with recovery operations.
Through this cross-government taskforce, the government has been able to facilitate operations at Lobethal including the following:
The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure has arranged conditional approval to allow B-double access to the site.
SA Water has facilitated installation of increased water treatment and sewerage to service the site.
The Department of State Development is supporting bus services to transport workers from Murray Bridge to Lobethal.
The Taskforce, through DSD and the RDA Riverlands and Murraylands (RDAMR), has also helped facilitate a Jobs Connection Service to help connect displaced TFI workers to new job opportunities in the region.
The Jobs Connect Service and Rural Business Support for affected suppliers, is available at the RDAMR office.
A Community Information Centre is also now based at the RDA Murraylands and Riverland office, 137 Adelaide Rd, Murray Bridge, and is providing counselling, advice and staff information. Opening hours are 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
The Taskforce is chaired by Primary Industries and Regions SA, and includes representatives from the departments of Premier and Cabinet, Communities and Social Inclusion, Planning Transport and Infrastructure, State Development, the Environment Protection Agency, Metropolitan Fire Service and SA Water. Also supporting the taskforce is the RDA Murraylands and Riverland.