STATE government has lent its support to a meat works project earmarked for Cloncurry, saying it would offer more options for cattle producers across Queensland.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh said Queensland was the largest cattle producing state in Australia and responsible for almost 50 per cent of Australian beef and up to 10 per cent of live cattle exports.
“Cattle producers in the Gulf-Savannah and Mt Isa to Townsville (MITEZ) regions of Queensland are faced with expensive cattle transportation to southern feedlots, south east Queensland processors or live export ports in the north,” he said.
Mr McVeigh said a local abattoir would lower the cost of supply chains for graziers.
He said there were a number of advantages that Cloncurry would offer as the proposed abattoir site, including good road access across north west Queensland and through to the Northern Territory, suitable finishing areas and future irrigated fodder production areas.
“It is now up to commercial operators or joint venture capitalists to get on board this amazing opportunity to help turn this opportunity into a reality,” Mr McVeigh said.
Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said that if an abattoir was to go ahead the proposal would need to stack up in the eyes of operators and investors.
North Beef member and cattle producer Rob Atkinson, who requested MITEZ organise the initial study into a North West abattoir, said the report added “weight and proof” to the fact that a meat works was a viable and sustainable proposal for the North West.
It’s a major industry in the district and it deserves to have a processing plant somewhere along the Flinders Highway,” he said.
Mr Atkinson said a Cloncurry meat works had major benefits for cattle producers.
“It costs a lot less in freight for boxed beef rather than live cattle,” he said. “It has animal welfare benefits, with a processing plant closer to where the animals are reared it means less time in trucks for them.
“There will be a lot less road damage by the trucks and less driver fatigue issues.” He said less “shrinkage” was also a benefit.
“When we cart live cattle a long way we get what we call shrinkage, which is dehydration of the animals while they’re in the trucks.
"As a producer because we’re paid by meat works on carcass weight if there’s been 'shrinkage' it’s less profitable for the producer. A nearby meat works would reduce that factor. “
North West Star
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