A meatworks in south-east South Australia has bought a motel to combat housing shortages for its staff.
- A South Australian-based meatworks has bought a motel for staff to live in
- JBS Bordertown says it is part of a long-term plan to retain workers
- The company will be adding fields for sports and other activities
JBS is converting a motel in Bordertown to house up to 70 people at maximum capacity.
Plant manager Trevor Schiller said 29 staff currently lived at the facility.
“The location is perfect, close to the community,” he said.
“So, settling on that site has been really good.”
‘Pretty big challenge’
Accommodation has been a major issue for the region, according to Tatiara District Council chief executive Anne Champness.
“It’s been a big issue for all of our businesses in the town and not just here but also in Keith and the other communities,” she said.
Ms Champness said Regional Development Australia assessed the number of jobs available compared to housing and found there were major discrepancies.
“They found that we had 151 jobs advertised from 122 employers and 164 that were no longer advertised because employers have given up,” she said.
“We had two houses advertised for rent.
“There’s a massive economic loss if we can’t fill those staff shortages.”
‘Attracting and retaining people’
Mr Schiller said it had been a challenge finding staff.
“The key for that is attracting people and retaining people,” he said.
“The investment into this site provides that opportunity.”
Mr Schiller said the purchase of the motel was part of JBS’s long-term investment and they would continue to upgrade the space.
“The plans here will be an undercover area paved with a barbecue area,” he said.
“The land we have here we’ll convert that to a place for rugby matches, and for volleyball and for any other sport and activities.
“[It is] very important to make sure that they have activities outside work.”
Mr Schiller estimated JBS was still at least 50 staff short at its Bordertown plant and has had workers recently join the team from Tonga and Vanuatu.
As well as providing accommodation, JBS is also working with local organisations to provide pastoral care.
The Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) is working with the company and Tatiara District Council to “provide new migrant and refugee settlers who work in JBS with service support that is culturally relevant, welcoming and inclusive”.
“This partnership ensures issues and needs are addressed quickly in the workplace and in everyday life,” the AMRC’s chief executive Eugenia Tsoulis said.
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