Western Game Processing subject of $1.3m LNP election promise

Sally Gall
By Sally Gall
Updated April 23 2022 - 8:14pm, first published 1:00am
Ben and Liza Cameron, Western Game Processing, with Maranoa MP David Littleproud at Saturday's announcement. Pictures supplied.

A Longreach wild game processing business would be able to double its capacity and boost employment numbers if the Coalition government was re-elected in May.

Federal Agricultural Minister and local MP David Littleproud was in Longreach on Saturday to announce that the federal government would commit up to $1.3m to Western Game Processing Pty Ltd to help expand its business further into north western Queensland.

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The whole project is worth $2.5m and would see 12 chiller boxes placed across six sites including Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Boulia, Julia Creek and Middleton.

The company, which began in 2018, already has 11 chiller boxes in locations as widespread as Hughenden, Eromanga and Barcaldine.

The money would come from the Northern Australia Development Grants program and would deliver 10 new jobs for Longreach, Mr Littleproud said.

He said it was about accelerating growth in northern Australia, empowering small business to have a go, and to accelerate job creation.

Western Game Processors principal Ben Cameron said they always advertised locally but in all likelihood, some of the jobs would probably be filled by the Pacific Labour Scheme.

"We foresee that we need to double our capacity and go to the next level within the next two to three years," he said.

"This would allow us to do that.

"You'll see more of our trucks on the road, and more of our kangaroo product coming back through here."

The project would include the purchase of a 600ph prime mover and trailers, the construction of a 20x12m fit for purpose solar-powered shed for the preparation of kangaroo hides, a 16-person accommodation hub with kitchen, laundry and recreation facilities to offer workers short and long-term housing, and an office and staff amenities block that catered to the needs of the expanding administration role of the business.

Mr Cameron noted that another 60KW of solar power was included in the expansion plan, making the business more sustainable.

"All in all, it would be a great thing for us," he said.

While they are licenced for human consumption, their partner is a major pet food company in Melbourne and most of their product goes into the pet food market.

Mr Cameron said the market side of the business was very buoyant, being at the cheap end of the red meat market.

"On the roo side, we have no trouble getting the number of roos we need," he said.

Increasing the number and location of the chiller boxes would help the business become more resilient to weather events and ensure product demand is met.

Ben and Liza Cameron's business already operates 12 chiller boxes around western Queensland, all going back to the base at Longreach, where David Littleproud made his announcement on Saturday.

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The business estimates that each chiller box has the capacity, depending on the number of licensed harvesters, to inject between $350,000 and $2 million directly into a community per annum.

Being an election promise, the funding is dependent on the election outcome, and Mr Littleproud said that if the Coalition wasn't successful, he hoped the ALP would commit to the funding as well.

"I see no reason for them not to continue on with this," he said, adding that Saturday's promise was one of a number to be made in relation to development in northern Australia.

"The Liberal and Nationals government will always put agriculture front and centre, unlike Labor who haven't announced any policies that will drive economic growth and prosperity outside their metropolitan seats," he said.

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Sally Gall

Sally Gall

Senior journalist - Queensland Country Life/North Queensland Register

Based at Blackall, CW Qld, where I've raised a family, run Merino sheep and beef cattle, and helped develop a region - its history, tourism, education and communications.

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