A proposed new goat and sheep abattoir for the Goulburn Valley could add to competition for livestock producers.
Coomboona Boer goat breeder Geoff Mitchell said the introduction of a new player would be good for the industry and would be useful for producers in this region.
‘‘It creates more players in the market place,’’ Mr Mitchell said.
He said goat meat production was not as developed as other meats in Australia and did not have the benefit of a sophisticated distribution network, although internationally it was the most popular meat consumed.
Some abattoirs only killed on request and were not part of a commercial marketing chain.
Mr Mitchell estimated about 90 per cent of goat production would go into the Halal market.
Australian construction and consulting company EI Group has proposed to develop the meatworks facility at the site of a former 161ha dairy farm at Gillieston.
The abattoir would source sheep and goat meat locally, saving on the transport of livestock to Ararat, Stawell, Wodonga and Kyneton.
Meatworks Australia project director Raed Elmasri said the facility would export interstate and overseas and create upwards of 150 jobs in construction, trades, engineering, processing and administration.
Mr Elmasri said the operation would inject up to $1billion into the local economy in five years and expected the operation to be in full swing in the next 18 months, if approved.
‘‘The reason we decided to go down this path is because we do see that agriculture is the future of Australia, that there is enormous food demand in international markets, particularly with rising economies in South-East Asia,’’ Mr Elmasri said.
‘‘We’re looking to source the meat from local farmers and we’re looking to meet with farmers about whether we can get contracts in place.’’
Though the development is only in the pre-planning stages, the company is drawing up plans to submit to Greater Shepparton City Council and has made inquiries with the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria.
Greater Shepparton City Council planning and building manager Colin Kalms confirmed the department had been approached by the company.
‘‘The planning department have informed that planning permission would be required for use and development and have informed of what would be required to be submitted with the application,’’ Mr Kalms said.
‘‘Council officers are of the understanding that the proponent has been discussing the proposal with the EPA.’’
■An information session about the abattoir plans will be held on Monday, August 14, at 10.30am at Merrigum Bowls Club.
Goat abattoir will create jobs
The proposed new goat and sheep abattoir at Gillieston will have a capacity of about 3000 head per day.
Meatworks Australia project director Raed Elmasri said the company had engaged an environmental engineer to develop a plan for dealing with waste, noise and odour to minimise impact on the land and environment.
Mr Elmasri said the site had been chosen after a two-and-a-half year search. The location had access to a nearby highway linked to Tullamarine airport, was centrally located in Victoria and was near a large population centre, Shepparton, which could provide labour.
He expected the plant could be operational in about 18 months if approvals went through soon.
An architect has been engaged to work on the design.
The business could create about 150 full-time job opportunities, including office and administration roles.
State Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said he was interested in seeing what happens with this project.
‘‘I think there is demand for Australia’s agricultural produce all around the world and sheep and goat meat is no exception, and I always have any interest in any proposals that will help create jobs and that add to our agricultural production in our rural communities,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘I suppose we’re all very interested in having more jobs in the area, and that’s why I am so interested in what will come out of the information session in a couple of weeks.’’
Mr Walsh also welcomed the creation of more competition in the meat processing sector.