Chance to shine

Thomas Food International’s recent announcement that it will provide work for more than 400 of its Murray Bridge staff at its Lobethal abattoir will undoubtedly have come as a relief to many of the company’s employees.
With close to 900 permanent staff displaced as a result of the devastating January 3 fire, the last few weeks have been a highly stressful period for the business’ owners and many of their employees.
To mobilise hundreds of staff to new roles in just a couple of weeks is undoubtedly a huge a task and one that would not have been possible without the support of Local and State Government and the Hills community.
But while the crisis point may be nearing an end, with most of the permanent Murray Bridge staff already offered employment with the company across the country, it may be just the beginning of the adjustment period for the affected communities – including Lobethal and its surrounds.
While temporary, the changes at Lobethal’s abattoir are likely to cause some disruption to the rest of the town and the region, as the facility doubles its processing.
The addition of about 410 staff and the transportation of more animals to the site may result in greater traffic congestion, while extended operating hours could be disruptive to close neighbors.
But the inconvenience – which is estimated to last for two years – is a small price to pay in exchange for the financial security of hundreds of South Australian families.
Most people probably consider an abattoir to be the kind of place they’d prefer to leave out of sight and out of mind.
But it can often take the loss of such an enterprise – which provides not only jobs to immediate workers, but also income for local farmers as well as a service that is essential to most Australian homes – to help a community recognise its value.
Now is the Lobethal community’s chance to embrace the worth of the enterprise not only to the town, but to the wider region, State and country, and welcome with open arms the changes that will occur there and the new workers who will descend upon the town.