Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has accused the Morrison Government of abandoning meatworkers at the JBS Dinmore abattoir in his electorate.
Workers are expecting to head back to work on Monday after a two-week shutdown, but do not expect to work full weeks in the lead-up to an annual month-long shutdown at Christmas.
Mr Neumann said the workers were anxiously waiting on news about the Dinmore plant and were facing an uncertain future.
“At JBS in Ipswich more than 1,700 full-time workers are at risk of permanently losing their jobs because the Prime Minister has excluded them from JobKeeper,” he said.
“During Question Time in Parliament this week, I asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison why he was happy to add JBS Dinmore meatworkers to the unemployment queue in the middle of the worst recession in almost a century.
“Mr Morrison’s response was arrogant and insulting.
“All he is offering is unemployment benefits and there is no guarantee these people will get JobSeeker.
“Indeed, some workers have already applied and been rejected.
“There are already one million Australians unemployed, the Government expects 400,000 to lose their jobs between now and Christmas, and we know for every job vacancy there are 13 applicants.
"If these 1,700 workers lose their jobs, it will be devastating for them and their families and for the local economy.
“The Prime Minister had an opportunity to offer a solution yesterday and provide hope to these people who are really struggling, but he completely blew it.
“JBS Dinmore workers have told me they are devastated and feel abandoned by Scott Morrison's complete lack of action.
“He seems to think JobSeeker unemployment benefits are as good as having a job – at least if you're a meatworker at JBS Dinmore.
“The reality is the Morrison Government could easily fix this by extending JobKeeper to these workers to save their jobs,” Mr Neumann said.