Senator Whish-Wilson and MP Basil O’ Halloran have just returned from a trip to King Island where they introduced two investment bankers to groups of the islands beef producers to help facilitate investment into building a new King Island abattoir.
“Big multinational corporation JB Swift recently devasted many in the Islands community by closing the existing abattoir, and are frustrating attempts to establish a new facility by refusing to sell idle plant and equipment, including a tax payer assisted state of the art effluent treatment facility”,” the Senator stated.
“This is the second trip the Greens have visited King Island on this issue in the past few months, and it has become clear there is a real and growing appetite on the island to drive the creation of a new meat processing facility”.
Ken Fleming, head of research at the investment bank Wilard Greening said he was impressed with the level of commitment locals had to the potential project and it looked promising to stack up financially.
“These farmers produce great cattle, but many have failed to own the brand and therefore garner a premium from that ownership.
“A new abattoir proposal, if financially viable, would allow them to control their own supply chain, and reap profits from growing the value in their brand”
“A new plant could also incorporate updated technology such as bio-digesters to make fertiliser from blood and bone or even bio-fuel from tallow could also be investigated. It would also allow for the development of a specialty operation on the island which processes lamb, lower grade beef and wallaby for small goods”.
“A new abattoir also avoids the issue of live animal shipment, which isn’t ideal for cattle husbandry or popular with many farmers.”
A government feasibility study is now underway into the economics of a new abattoir, and will be studied closely by potential investors. The Greens look forward to continuing to help King Island farmers where possible.
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