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Australian Country Choice - category seven

The impact of COVID-19 on the meat processing industry extends from the health and wellbeing of employees, to staff in rural and remote locations being isolated by lockdowns, through to the commercial impact on the supply chain, from farms, to domestic and export freight, as well as the challenges of maintaining continuity through to retailers and customers.

Australian Country Choice (ACC) is an agricultural producer and meat processor with over 1200 employees. It responded immediately and efficiently to the pandemic and transformed the way its business operated in feedlots, properties and processing facilities.

Leadership was demonstrated from the beginning with open and constant communication to all employees and in a variety of languages other than English for their culturally diverse workforce. The senior executive team met routinely to identify risks and develop strategies to control them.

Amongst many other innovative solutions to the challenges of the pandemic, ACC provided paid leave for staff who may have been at risk of exposure to COIVD-19 to encourage them to take extra precautions and self-isolate, sending the message that management was prepared to share the responsibility with all the workforce and support staff to ‘do the right thing’.

Their comprehensive response had a focus on employee safety, wellbeing and business continuity. It has transformed the way that the business operates and has long-term benefits for their workplace culture, production and staff satisfaction.