Regions battle for new meatworks

Two north-west regions are battling it out to be home for a proposed new meatworks site.

Producers across the country agree that a new meatworks facility would help the industry move away from live exports – an industry which has struggled since the infamous ban to Indonesia in 2011 – and towards chilled and boxed beef.

However, representatives from Cloncurry and Hughenden are now at loggerheads over which town would make the best location for a new facility, the North West Star reports.

Cloncurry mayor, Andrew Daniels, said he doesn't care where a meatworks is built, as long as it is built somewhere. He did add, however, that Cloncurry has sufficient power supply to run a meatworks and is strategically placed at three intersecting highways, making transport of chilled beef a supported industry. But ultimately,

Flinders Shire mayor, Gregory Jones, vouched for Hughenden by arguing the region would be more central to the supply of cattle, especially considering the Australian Agriculture Company (AACo) is constructing an abattoir in Darwin to account for the cattle currently over-supplying the Northern Territory market.

Jones said Cloncurry would struggle to provide labour for the meatworks as a lot of its resources are dedicated to mining, but insisted his council would be more able to supply the low-cost housing needed to set up a meatworks that would bring employment to the town.

There's also talk of a new $30m abattoir on King Island, but the viability of the facility would be dependent on secure meat prices, a well-promoted brand and a supply commitment from producers.

According to The Mercury, a government-funded $48,000 study has found that any new meatworks would need to be a full export facility, and the island's beef producers would need to provide it rather than the Tasmanian mainland with their beef in order for it to work.

Since the closure of the JBS abattoir last year, farmers have been paying $112 per head to send cattle off the island, but this cost has been offset by competition between JOB in Longford and another processor, Greenhams.


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