North Queensland Beef Processing Plant Proposed

AUSTRALIA - The Queensland Government is to investigate the commercial viability of a meat processing facility in North Queensland.
calendar icon 5 July 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies Tim Mulherin said the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) is undertaking a project to develop a business case.

“Over-dependence on a single export market and the lack of competition for meat processing capacity in northern Australia are significant issues for the industry,” Mr Mulherin said.

“The recent suspension of the live export trade by the Federal Government has highlighted these problems and put more than 60,000 tonnes of beef a year at risk.”

Mr Mulherin said strategically-located abattoirs could have access to over 3 million cattle in north and northwest Queensland.

“An enormous swathe of Australian cattle country currently isn’t served by local meat processing facilities – if you draw a line diagonally from just above Townsville to Perth, you would find no abattoirs north of this line,” Mr Mulherin said.

“A new abattoir could reduce the need to truck cattle large distances to southern processing plants and provide alternative markets for producers.”

AACo Chief Executive Officer David Farley has welcomed the initiative.

“AACo looks forward to working with the government on the feasibility of a processing facility in the north,” Mr Farley said.

“I’m sure the pastoralist industry will be pleased to see new options and new technology introduced for northern Australia.

“A new plant will add greater commercial competition and pricing opportunities for northern producers,” he said.

Rob Atkinson from North Beef also endorsed the announcement.

“We are heartened and pleased that the government sees this option as being worth investigating,” Mr Atkinson said.

“The Minister’s support is very much appreciated.”

Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan said the exact location for the potential abattoir had not been determined.

“While there are a number of standout centres that could be suitable, many potential locations and modes of operation will be considered,” she said.

“The investigation will take into account a number of factors including market and workforce potential, logistics and transport infrastructure.”

A final report to Government is expected in December 2011.

Results of this study will be made available to prospective investors.

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