WAMIA staff assurance

Rueben HaleCountryman

The WA Meat Industry Authority has assured Muchea Livestock Centre logistics staff not only are their jobs safe, but it is likely their pay will rise under a restructure announced last week.

Rumours first flagged byCountryman in March of a WAMIA takeover of logistics operations from Livestock Logistics WA were realised last week when authority chief executive Andrew Williams announced it would be taking over the role from July 1.

The change will mean animal handling and sale administration services at the centre, as well as sale administration services for South West saleyards, will be handled in-house.

A rumour that staff would have to reapply for their jobs has been quashed by Mr Williams, who said the move to a Government award could mean pay increases for some staff.

Many regard the latest move by WAMIA as the final and most decisive step to clean up the centre’s act, after management failed to handle a yarding of 2500-head of cattle in 2014, leaving buyers and sellers waiting days for livestock to be processed and weighed.

Since that time, the fallout from the MLC’s meltdown and other issues resulted in two new appointments.

In January, Mr Williams, a former Royal Agricultural Society councillor, was appointed WAMIA chief executive and, in July, Queensland cattle expert Darren Robertson took on the newly created role of livestock manager at LLWA.

Since that time, there has been a sense of renewed optimism, with the MLC operating more efficiently, including record livestock yardings.

Mr Williams said all LLWA employees would retain, at a minimum, their existing levels when transferred, with full entitlement retained.

“And there will be no increase in costs to agents or any other party as a result of the change,” he said.

Mr Williams said he would hold a meeting about the changes with all stakeholders this week.

He said, as with any change which affected people’s employment, a certain degree of apprehension was unavoidable.

“I have previously met with the LLWA staff to discuss the changes with them and will do so regularly over the coming weeks,” he said.

“There may be some minor additional record keeping requirements to ensuring we meet the high standards of transparency and probity expected of a Government agency, but other than that the only change they, or any other MLC user, will notice will be a WAMIA shirt and logo.”

Mr Williams also confirmed WAMIA was investigating the feasibility of a relocation of the Midland office to Muchea, with a decision to be made in the coming months.

Last week Agriculture Minister Dean Nalder commended Mr Williams’ leadership since taking over and implementing decisive action to streamline the previously embattled facility’s operations.

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