Investment report into NW Qld abattoir released

Beef Central, 05/10/2012

The Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has released a new 'Investment opportunity' report as a guide for potential investors considering the viability of a new beef processing plant in northern Queensland. 

The document outlines the supply chain dynamics, market opportunities and the case supporting an investment along with relevant contacts for investors.

It follows the release of a 'pre-feasiability' study earlier this year investigated the viability of a meat processing facility at a number of locations in North Queensland. That report found that there were sufficient cattle to support an abattoir and that the savings from reduced freight costs would be significant.

Its key findings included:

  • Locating an abattoir in North west Queensland would significantly reduce live transport times and costs, minimise weight losses of cattle, animal welfare concerns and driver fatigue issues; 
  • While there is currently adequate existing processing capacity in Queensland, abattoirs are too far from north-western production areas to offset transport costs to producers; 
  • Changing global demand patterns puts northern Australia is in an excellent position to capitalise on rising demand for beef in parts of Asia and the Middle East; 
  • Cloncurry offers the greatest benefit per head of cattle, potentially attracting 96,000 beasts per year. Cloncurry is close to labour sources and optimises the fright differentials. However there are many sites throughout the region that would be attractive to investors.

The study was commissioned by the department with support by the Mount Isa Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ), Gulf Savanna Development (GSD), and Northbeef, with funding support from the Australian Government.considers the investment opportunity created by  investment  

In a media release issued on Friday, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh, said he was in support of establishing a processing plant in rural Queensland.

“An abattoir in north west Queensland would provide cattle producers with more options for getting their product from paddock to plate,” Mr McVeigh said.

“Queensland is the largest cattle producing State in Australia and is 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. 

“There are no abattoirs in the north western region for producers, so their only option is to face the significantly high cattle transport costs to get them to a port or processor.

“The cost of transporting cattle is increasing due to animal welfare and driver fatigue regulations, rising fuel and labour costs and insecurities about the live export market.

“Having a local abattoir would lower the cost of supply chains for graziers,” 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.

“The feasibility study analysed a number of potential locations in Queensland with Cloncurry being identified as the most suitable for potential investors interested in developing an abattoir facility in this region," he said.

"But any proposal has to stack up and make commercial sense.

“The report will inform the decisions of industry and investors looking at development opportunities in the northern beef industry.

“The Federal Government has been working in partnership with the States through the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum (NAMF) to look at the opportunities for the sustainable development of Northern Australia, of which the northern beef industry is a major contributor," Mr Crean said.

Mr McVeigh said there were a number of advantages that Cloncurry would offer as the proposed abattoir site.

“The Cloncurry area has good road access in north western Queensland and through to eastern Northern Territory,” Mr McVeigh said.

“It is located within a significant labour catchment with Mt Isa only 120 kilometres away.

“The region has suitable finishing areas and future irrigated fodder production areas nearby.

“The Newman Government is committed to making agriculture one of the four pillars of Queensland’s economy and doubling food production by 2040.

“An abattoir in Cloncurry would be an asset which will continue to support the industry’s future.

“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.

The report can be viewed by clicking here.

The earlier report, 'Evaluating the commercial viability of a northern outback Queensland meat processing facility', can be view here

For further information visit the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at


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