The grocery distribution centre near Launceston Airport and Centrelink call centre at Kings Meadows were shut for the day after sustaining roof damage due to heavy snowfall overnight.
Security at the Tasmanian Regional Distribution Centre at Western Junction – which provides produce to Woolworths, IGA, BWS and Dan Murphy’s – noticed roof damage around 1am when snowfall was close to its heaviest.
All parts of the site, including liquor, ambient, chilled and produce, sustained some structural roof damage.
The temperature-controlled section bore the brunt of the damage and will be out of action “for a period of time”, Statewide Independent Wholesales said in a statement. Chilled and frozen produce for Launceston will be sourced from the Woolworths Group distribution centre in the meantime.
The ambient section was due to reopen later on Wednesday, and the ambient section on Thursday.
Statewide Independent Wholesales general manager Drew Freeman said the company was working with Woolworths to minimise disruptions to supply.
“This was a 1 in a 100 year weather event. There was a weather warning from the Bureau of Meteorology but never did anyone expect this to happen,” he said.
“Regrettably, we do expect there will be a short-term impact on supply into the Tasmanian stores we serve.
“SIW has a close working relationship with Woolworths Group Supply Chain and we’ll draw on its support to help keep supply flowing after this unusual event.”
No one was injured as a result of the damage.
Centrelink call centre shuts for the day
The Centrelink call centre on Techno Drive in Kings Meadows was shut Wednesday after sustaining damage due to the overnight snow storm.
A spokesperson for Services Australia said services were not affected.
“The site was closed today to ensure the workplace was safe for our staff and a number of staff worked at different locations today,” she said.
“Our services have not been affected as Services Australia’s call centre network spans across the nation, including thousands of additional staff taking calls and processing claims as part of our coronavirus response.
“The site is expected to reopen for staff to return tomorrow.”
SES kept busy on Tuesday and Wednesday
The State Emergency Service responded to 48 requests for assistance overnight, while Tasmania Police was required to free dozens of vehicles trapped by the snow throughout the state.
The SES assisted people in the Greater Launceston area, Gardners Bay, towns in the Southern Midlands and the northern suburbs of Hobart and Rokeby.
SES assistant director Leon Smith said the callouts were diverse.
“Our volunteers in the south responded to incidents relating to roof damage and water inundation in homes from ground level and through ceilings. SES also assisted Tasmania Police with road closures and traffic control,” he said.
“In the north SES assisted with snow on the roads, water inundation through roofs due to snow melt, and some wind damage.
“The conditions proved challenging for responding crews, with snow and ice preventing crews from working at heights.”