AUSTRALIA should brace for a national food shortage as coronavirus lockdown restrictions devastate abattoirs in Victoria, a major supermarket has warned.
Meatworks in Victoria is being forced to reduce their production by a third from 11.59pm on Friday under the state's Stage 4 lockdown.
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The supermarket, which has not be named, has appealed to the government's COVID advisory committee.
Sweeping new restrictions were announced in Australia this week in a desperate bid to stem the tide of coronavirus infections.
The spike has been blamed by some on security guards allegedly romping with Brits and other travellers who they were supposed to be making sure were quarantining in hotels.
The Supermarkets Taskforce, an alliance of major supermarkets focused on preventing supply shortages during the coronavirus crisis, has also argued the unprecedented restrictions will disrupt the grocery supply chain across Australia.
The taskforce includes Woolworths, Coles and Aldi and has been communicating with the Department of Home Affairs since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia in March.
Business Council of Australia chief Jennifer Westacott said there were 'serious problems' with current restrictions in Victoria.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, she said: "We have to urgently fix supply chain issues at distribution centres."
'These restrictions must be lifted today because they do not recognise that supply chains operate nationwide."
Vegetable prices are set to soar by as much as 60 per cent as the coronavirus border closures lock out seasonal workers.
Farms are likely to be forced to either lift wages to attract local workers or leave their produce unharvested.
The workforce is usually made up of young people from Europe and South East Asia on working-holiday visas but that labour source has largely dried up as they cannot enter the country, and many who were already here have been forced to return home.
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