EXCLUSIVE: Charleville set to get abattoir in 2017

John Burey plans to convert his kangaroo meatwork facility to slaughter cattle.
John Burey plans to convert his kangaroo meatwork facility to slaughter cattle. Ali Kuchel

THE kangaroo works are set to reopen in 2017.

But roos are off the menu.

The new business, Grassland Cattle Australia Propriety Limited, will predominantly produce beef.

But they also intend to slaughter other animals like donkeys, camels and horses to make up potential shortfall in supply in a currently understocked Western Queensland.

On Monday, owner John Burey announced a $45 million upgrade to the kangaroo works, which have been closed since the 2009 collapse of the Russian export market.

The new business, Grassland Cattle Australia Propriety Limited, is expected to slaughter 350 head a day.

Within a year Mr Burey expects to employ 140 people in a new factory, with triple the floor space at 6000 square metres.

"I also want to do donkeys, camels and horses," Mr Burey said.

He said being flexible on the killing floor would help tide over the bad times - like at the moment - when many producers are destocked.

Mr Burey said he has raised the expected $45m cost of upgrade through a Chinese investor, who has become a partner in the business. They've also raised money through loans.

Construction will start in three weeks from Thursday's public notification.

Assuming no complaints, Mr Burey said construction would take about 9-10 months from then.

All told, the plant would be up and running in about a year or so.

Possibly the biggest point of difference in the new plant is availability.

The closest cattle abattoir is in Oakey near Toowoomba over 800 kilometres away.

The distance gives the Charleville abattoir a potential advantage.

Murweh shire mayor Annie Liston said she was overjoyed at the news.

"It's a positive thing, it'll bring another industry into our shire," she said.

"It'll bring the workforce here.

"It is huge."

Topics:  editors picks employment farmers jobs rural upgrade

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