Posted by Rita Mu
The Queensland Government is planning to build a new meat processing facility to help boost the state’s beef and cattle industry.
Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies, Tim Mulherin, said the Department of Economic Development and Innovation was currently preparing a report outlining the commercial viability of a new abattoir in north Queensland.
According to Mulherin, a new facility would allow more than three million cattle in north and northwest Queensland to be processed locally.
"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," 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.”
Mulherin said a local abattoir would also reduce the need to truck cattle large distances to southern processing plants and provide alternative markets for producers.
"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,” he said.
Cattle company AACo has welcomed the initiative, saying a new abattoir would help increase industry competitiveness.
The exact location for the potential abattoir has not been decided.
"The investigation will take into account a number of factors including market and workforce potential, logistics and transport infrastructure,” Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan said.
A feasibility study into building a new abattoir is expected to be completed by December 2011. Results of this study will be made available to prospective investors.