A CLERMONT man and an aspiring Asian meat exporter plan to lodge a development application for a proposed meatworks near Wallumbilla by the end of the year.
If successful, the plan would see a processing plant operating by the middle of 2019, killing up to 600 head of cattle a day.
Val Cormack and Linda Claxton created the partnership, Valinda Team Pty Ltd, after meeting at Beef Australia in 2015 and have recently purchased 364 hectares of industrial and grazing land at Pickanjinnie, east of Roma, to establish the multi-million dollar meatworks.
At full capacity, the pair hope to see the abattoir processing 1800 head of cattle a day sourced from local producers and the Roma and Dalby saleyards.
Ms Claxton, who had previously established a meat trading business, will onsell the meat to Asian markets.
The plant will value add by recycling water for fish farming and look to save on tariffs by exporting products like pies and beef jerky while solar power will be installed to cut electricity prices.
The land came with a 500mg water allocation but Mr Cormack expects they will need to source water elsewhere to reach the 1200mg/year needed to operate the plant.
Mr Cormack, who is 69, spoke about his project at the AusTrade seminar in Roma this week and said he was confident it would go ahead.
“This is where the cattle should be processed, where they are born - not on the coast,” he said.
“You have got too much travel and if you want dark cutters you send them down there. We have got a lot of cattle that weigh 500kg live and there is no market for them in Australia.
“We will get to a stage in the season where the season will have run out, we have got an animal 450-500kg, the abattoirs don’t want them because they are not heavy enough and the feedlots don’t want them either because they are too heavy.”
Maranoa councillor and chair for Economic Development and Advocacy Cameron O’Neil said council wanted to diversify the industry bases and projects like a meatworks could help drive jobs and the economy.
“Coming out of the downturn of oil and gas we wanted to make sure we had a sustainable community long term,” he said.
“Agriculture is the biggest industry for us, the saleyards is a huge asset and we wanted to look at ways to value add. Council initiated a study into the feasibility of a meatworks in the region to attract investors to look at it and Val’s one of them.
“We would welcome a development application from anybody that sees this is as the type of industry that they would invest in.”