THE Australian Government has launched a new program to improve training for workers in Vietnamese abattoirs handling imported Australian cattle.
The program was launched at the Vissan Abattoir in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday by federal agriculture minister David Littleproud during a four-day tour of Vietnam.
Mr Littleproud said the Managing Abattoirs, Training and Exchange of Skills (MATES) program is focused on upskilling Vietnam’s workforce to international animal welfare and food safety standards are met.
The program is being funded as part of part of the Federal Government’s five-year Aus4Skills program, a five-year $146 million investment focused on upskilling Vietnam’s workforce.*
“We also want to assure Australian cattle farmers that animals are treated humanely,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The MATES program, funded by Australia, will improve key integrity aspects of the live export supply chain in Vietnam and to modernise the supply chain from production to distribution.
“It will also assist industry to meet consumer expectations when it comes to food quality and safety.
“Australia is helping Vietnam to rise to the challenge – delivering training courses, improving abattoir and feedlot infrastructure and providing technical support on animal welfare.
Vietnam is Australia’s second largest live cattle export market, worth $243 million in 2016/17.
Mr Littleproud said the investment was an example of a ‘win-win’ collaborative relationship, improving food production integrity practices in Vietnam and export opportunities for Australia.
Minister Littleproud also visited FutureMilk, a 100 per cent Australian owned dairy company.
“Visiting FutureMilk left me with a feeling of pride in how an Australian company can export expertise and entrepreneurship and provide a significant boost to jobs and industry in Vietnam.
“FutureMilk runs more than 1000 dairy cows and employs over 70 staff, many local women who would not otherwise have the opportunity to earn a wage.”
* An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that the Federal Government is providing $146m to fund the Vietnam abattoir training program. Rather, the funding is one component of the Federal Government’s larger five-year $146 million Federal Government Aus4Skills program, upskilling Vietnam’s broader workforce.