THE flexibility of one of Australia’s largest integrated sheep meat processors – Fletcher International Exports – to meet market demands will be enhanced by a multi-million dollar investment.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said a $4.5 million grant from the New South Wales Government’s Regional Job Creation Fund will help deliver a $14 million expansion of the company’s plant at Dubbo.
Fletcher International Exports director Roger Fletcher said the funding would help the plant reach its processing capacity to 11,000 head per day, potentially creating more than 400 ongoing full-time jobs, although he said it was currently difficult to get extra workers.
He said the Dubbo plant had the capacity to process 10,000-11,000 sheep or lambs a day now, but the investment will increase its flexibility and ability to gear itself to world market needs.
“For us to survive we’ve got to be flexible and find what the markets require.
“It’s no good sending something to someone who doesn’t want it.”
Mr Saunders said the meat processing facility’s capacity to produce meat and skins has been limited by the amount of livestock the current facility can receive and the existing carton handling capacity.
“This project will increase the facility’s livestock and carton-handling facilities, enabling them to continue producing high-quality sheep and lamb products, uphold animal welfare standards and meet growing demand at both a domestic and international level.
“The upgrades will not only increase the facility’s processing capacity, but also double the rendering capacity of its by-product plant and introduce high-tech equipment to increase efficiency,” he said.
Mr Fletcher said he is excited to see the NSW Government investing in regional job creation.
“Our business has spent a lot of time and money on building up to where we are today, and we love creating jobs for people.
“In all my years in business I’ve never seen a government invest in jobs for the bush like this, and I can’t wait to get the expansion completed and provide more opportunities for people to get into the workforce,” he said.