Qld abattoir plan comes as facilities across Australia are being mothballed

Stock and property: Bill Tatt reveals $100 million would be on the table to develop a new abattoir and feedlot on a 900ha site in Queensland. Photo: File
Stock and property: Bill Tatt reveals $100 million would be on the table to develop a new abattoir and feedlot on a 900ha site in Queensland. Photo: File

With abattoirs all over the country being mothballed or run at greatly reduced levels throughout, the writer thought it strange the Federal Government has granted “major project status” to a new facility to be located at Hughenden, in Queensland. 

The acting Industry, Innovation & Science Minister Michaelia Cash announced an investment offer of $100 million would be on the table to develop a 900ha site 5km from the North Queensland town. The site would be integrated comprising a feedlot and abattoir.

Because this move has been granted the above status, financial backers will be provided government assistance to coordinate plans for the project.

The plant would provide 300 full-time positions and supposedly have the potential to process 180,000 cattle per year.

The local Flinders Shire Council and the North Beef Producers Group have obviously thrown their total support behind this venture suggesting not only will it be good for employment but will offer beef producers an alternative marketing option.

Hughenden is one of many proposed sites in Central and Northern Queensland in recent years.

One would have to think if this abattoir becomes a reality and unless cattle numbers greatly increase one or more of the older coastal plants would be forced to close.

The Dubbo Store Cattle selling group has produced an attractive offering for its store sale on November 17.

One of the headline attractions will be the almost 400 Santa Mix Sex Weaners 12 to 14 months A/c The Atkinson Family of Yeoval. The cattle are magnificently bred by the top sires from Pinnaroo, Yarrawonga and Rockingham. Well over 100 cows and calves will also be available, many of which are youngish.

Agents anticipate a yarding of some 1800 head with good lines of weaner cattle of various breeds also available.

Commission buyers appear to be under attack again from parliamentary committees delving into the action of this industry section.

My opinion is, in the main, they perform a challenging task efficiently and any alternative suggestion could cause serious problems for smaller processors and certainly not benefit small saleyards. With all the costs of salaries, cars, insurance etc. it would be difficult for many processors to have personnel attend all sales to secure their requirements.

The result of this may turn out to be the bigger facilities getting bigger and smaller saleyards sliding into obscurity.

Being a commission buyer is not an easy task when you are trying to satisfy demanding principals. As for talking among themselves, when the chips are down and each beast they buy is worth a substantial buying fee, I think human nature takes over and it is every man for himself. In reality agents and graziers also talk tactics when attending a sale.