I’m writing this month’s column with immense pride.
Our region has shown overwhelming resilience as it faces tremendous adversity.
Earlier this month, the Thomas Foods International facility in Murray Bridge caught fire causing extensive damage to the abattoir’s boning area.
Within just a few short weeks, the company has announced it will redeploy a significant number of its Murraylands workforce, and the enormity of that task alone cannot be understated.
We must thank our Adelaide Hills neighbours for welcoming TFI’s redeployed workers into their community, and for working collaboratively with the company, and state and federal governments towards the best possible outcome.
During what has been an extremely trying few weeks, the company has remained committed to its employees, suppliers and the entire community throughout its timely and considered response.
It was invigorating to attend and witness such a strong turnout of TFI supporters at the community barbecue which was held at Murray Bridge.
Hundreds of TFI workers, members of the public and business owners came together in a show of strength.
This positive outlook must continue.
As a Murray Valley Standard reader, you may be a TFI worker or know someone who is, and they may be unsure of their future, at this point in time.
TFI employees make an important contribution to our community – in our workplaces, schools, places of worship, and sporting clubs.
We implore affected employees and suppliers to come and speak with the RDAMR team as soon as possible.
If you know someone, please help them take this next step – even join them in coming through our door as everyone is welcome.
We understand the uncertainty everyone faces and want to assure you there are options available.
Whilst it may sound somewhat hollow at this stage - when one door closes, another door opens.
The RDAMR team is made up of expert and independent people who are passionate advocates for our region’s people.
We are on hand to answer questions and help chart possible ways forward.
We have the facilities and systems in place to help employees plan for bright futures and to provide strategic counselling to businesses effected to help them manage the next 12 to 24 months.
RDAMR and council have been inundated with offers from businesses looking for both short and long- term workers to help bridge the gap.
We are committed to minimising the flow-on effect the TFI fire will have on other businesses and the wider community.
As well as offering our full and continual support to Thomas Foods International, we are working collaboratively with business, industry and all levels of government to assist TFI during its recovery and rebuild process.
We also extend our support to other businesses and community members in the region who have been affected by the fire.
Events such as this can be difficult and reaffirm the importance of maintaining and executing a business contingency plan.
Any business faced with this challenge should contact our team directly to discuss tangible management strategies and connect with the appropriate business support.
As community and business leaders, it’s an absolute must that we take on board the next phase of this challenge.
To contact RDAMR, phone 8535 7170 or visit us in person at 137 Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge.
By Jo Podoliak,
chief executive officer
Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR)