A FEDERAL Government-funded project that will allow cattle producers to grow the beef industry in Central Queensland has moved a step closer to completion.
The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility this week announced it had reached the ‘contractual close’ stage for a $24 million loan to Signature Onfarm Pty Ltd.
The loan will be used to build a $37 million specialised beef processing facility and on-site employee accommodation near Clermont, on the Central Highlands.
In a statement, Resources, Water and Northern Australia minister Keith Pitt said it was the first NAIF loan to reach the contractual close stage in Central Queensland, meaning contracts have been signed, including by the Queensland Government, and soon the proponent can draw on the NAIF loan.
Minister Pitt said the Signature Onfarm Project would be used by local cattle producers and other beef companies to process cattle at an abattoir located closer to their properties.
“The result will be increased carcase yields for producers and, ultimately, growth for the Central Queensland premium beef brand,” he said.
The project was forecast to benefit the broader Clermont community to the tune of more than $63 million.
“It’s going to create 200 construction jobs and up to 70 ongoing jobs, and allow the transport and sale of Central Queensland premium beef to both domestic and overseas markets,” Minister Pitt said.
“It’s also going to create training and development opportunities for local young people in the beef industry, and opportunities for Indigenous employment and Indigenous business participation in the beef supply chain.”
The Signature Beef project is being developed by Blair and Josie Angus and family.
“This project is very important to our region, one of the largest beef producing regions in Australia with no local processing in our shire,” Signature Beef’s Josie Angus said.
“Adding local processing capacity, coupled with the provision of service processing to allow more producers to take their own branded products direct to market, is a key feature of this development,” she said.
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the funding represented the joint commitment of the Commonwealth Government and NAIF to lift regional economies and boost regional jobs.
“This is an investment in local families and communities. This loan will encourage more investment in Central Queensland and assist our graziers in opening up tangible opportunities in new domestic and export markets,” she said.
“Central Queensland beef is top quality and the envy of many beef-producing countries. With this beef processing facility near Clermont, Central Queensland will be centre stage in providing domestic and export markets with products that meet modern day consumer tastes,” Ms Landry said.