Victoria's meat processing facilities will be able to lift staffing capacity limits from 66 per cent to between 80 and 90pc from 11.59pm Sunday night.
The new levels were announced on Sunday as the 14-day rolling average of new cases in regional Victoria dropped to 0.6 and 22.1 in metro areas.
Premier Daniel Andrews said that under the latest rules regional abattoirs and processors would be able to increase capacity to 90pc while metro based facilities would increase to 80pc (except in the case of poultry processors where the limit was lifted to 90pc)
The workforce limits for supermarkets and food distribution centres would return to full capacity, he said.
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At the same time, and recognising the increased risk in some of these environments, there'll be additional obligations for employers, including regular surveillance testing of staff, nightly deep cleaning, separating workers into consistent bubbles, and providing regular training for their workers," Mr Andrews said.
VFF Pastoral Group president Leonard Vallance said the increases were a good first step, but abattoirs needed more surety for their supply chain.
He said there needed to be risk based assessment for abattoirs to ensure forward-purchased livestock could be processed and forward-sold product could be delivered .
He said a risk based assessment would prevent a whole facility being shut down because of one positive test result.
Mr Andrews said that the move to the third and the last steps would no longer be defined by dates but instead "trigger point" based "solely on reaching our case number targets".
He said that meant that the sooner those targets were reached "the sooner we can consider our next steps".
Mr Andrews said people should continue to get tested "when you're sick".
"To keep your distance when you're out. To follow the rules and listen to the health advice," he said..
"It also means continuing to wear a face covering. And with more people moving across our city, our public health team have advised the rules around wearing a mask need to be strengthened.
"Victorians will now be required to wear a fitted face mask, covering the nose and mouth. Some of the concessions we made as we adjusted to this new normal - things like wearing a scarf or a bandana or a face shield - will no longer apply."
Mr Vallance also warned that the forecast of a wet spring and summer could see a "horrendous" fly season.
He questioned who would be responsible if livestock producers could not get sheep crutched due to a lack of shearers.
He said New Zealand tourists were going to be permitted, so NZ shearers should also be permitted.
- Stock and Land
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