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Australia's biggest meat processor blames JobSeeker as it struggles to fill 150 job vacancies

Australia’s largest meat processor has claimed JobSeeker is preventing unemployed Australians from wanting to work.

Teys Australia, who employ about 4,500 workers, said the $1,500 fortnightly payment was the reason for them having 150 vacancies.   

Corporate and industry affairs manager John Langbridge told Daily Mail Australia the company was receiving less job applications than at any time in its recent history despite national unemployment rates of 7.5 per cent. 

‘JobSeeker was a good temporary measure to support the economy but Teys feels as though it is now competing with the government,’ he said 

Mr Langbridge said he understood the temptation to take the easy money from JobSeeker rather than work, but those on the benefit needed to think long-term.  

Australia's biggest meat processor, Teys Australia (processing room pictured) has laid blame on the JobSeeker payment after being unable to fill 150 job vacancies while the national unemployment rate sits at 7.5 per cent

Australia’s biggest meat processor, Teys Australia (processing room pictured) has laid blame on the JobSeeker payment after being unable to fill 150 job vacancies while the national unemployment rate sits at 7.5 per cent

‘People seem, for whatever reason, a little bit too comfortable with the current circumstances to be chasing those jobs down,’ he told ABC News

‘At some point it’s going to be weaning people off one system and basically getting the economy back into a more normal footing.’ 

He said COVID-19 outbreaks at Australian abattoirs may have played a part in people not jumping at job vacancies in the industry. 

However he assured people every Teys Australia location was ‘clean’ and ‘safe’. 

In a statement the company said the inability to employ overseas skilled workers and international backpackers was also impacting on their employment numbers.

New South Wales Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall backed claims the unemployment benefit was stifling some people’s incentive to work. 

He said the state was ‘desperate’ for workers in the agriculture sector and welcomes a reduction to the payments.  

The JobSeeker benefit was temporarily doubled through to September 24 before being reduced to $800 until the end of 2020. 

Despite his criticism of the payments Mr Langbridge praised the government for keeping the economy ‘primed’, but said it was time to get things going again. 

Corporate and industry affairs manager, John Langbridge, said the fortnightly JobSeeker payment, capped at a just over $1000, had made too many Australians 'comfortable' with not working (line outside a Brisbane Centrelink pictured)

Corporate and industry affairs manager, John Langbridge, said the fortnightly JobSeeker payment, capped at a just over $1000, had made too many Australians ‘comfortable’ with not working (line outside a Brisbane Centrelink pictured)

Meanwhile Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised his delayed October 6 budget will focus on getting people back into work.

He said Australia was still in the middle of a once in a century crisis where unemployment was expected to reach about 10 per cent by the end of the year.

The number of unemployed people has risen to over one million because of the pandemic, with predictions another 400,000 jobs could be lost before Christmas. 

‘The budget will continue to have more reforms but obviously what we are focusing on is getting people back to work,’ the treasurer said. 

ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch said an outright fall in national employment was predicted for August and September. 

She said the December quarter was also looking ‘worrying’, given the amount of fiscal government support scheduled to be withdrawn.

The meat processing giant (Biloela complex pictured) conceded outbreaks at abattoirs across the country may have also been a reason people haven;t jumped at jobs in the industry but assured Aussies their sites were 'safe' and 'clean'

The meat processing giant (Biloela complex pictured) conceded outbreaks at abattoirs across the country may have also been a reason people haven;t jumped at jobs in the industry but assured Aussies their sites were ‘safe’ and ‘clean’

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