Ipswich abattoir revival plans hit funding brick wall
PLANS to restart an Ipswich abattoir and hire up to 600 meatworkers have hit a wall without State Government backing.
Churchill Abattoir managing director Barry Moule announced his intentions to get the site up and running once again and convert the facility into an export centre for lamb, sheep and beef in September last year.
News of the proposal came a day after a third of the workforce at JBS Dinmore, totalling about 600 full-time workers, were sacked.
Churchill Abattoir has been closed for more than three years but it is still licensed.
It is intended to export meat to the Middle East.
It is estimated 50 to 200 jobs would be created once it is operational and another 400 would be created over the following 12 months.
Mr Moule had hoped the abattoir would restart within six months of his announcement but that is now looking highly unlikely.
He has been managing director of the Yamanto abattoir since 2000.
The QT understands there is frustration behind the scenes with no progress made and a perceived lack of interest from the State Government to get it off the ground.
It is understood the figure being sought from the government is about $40 million to fund the conversion of the facility to meet export accreditation.
That could be converted into equity so the government takes up a 50 per cent stake in the company.
Mr Moule did not comment on how discussions with the government were going but stressed the importance of the number of jobs that would be provided.
“Ipswich needs jobs that offer opportunity to those that are less academic than their peers at school,” he said.
“Hands-on semi skilled and skilled jobs including apprenticeships are on offer with the proposed upgrade to export.
“Export capacity strengthens the sustainability of the business in tough business circumstances by providing more options for processed meat.”
This funding could meet the criteria for the State Government’s $500 million Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund, which is managed by the Queensland Investment Corporation.
It will consider co-investment opportunities which will create “significant Queensland-based jobs”, have “significant growth potential” and are seeking capital to “expand or restructure operations, enter new markets or finance significant acquisitions.”
The investment framework and process are to be finalised.
“QIC has engaged with Mr Moule about the opportunity to progress his project and we look forward to receiving additional information so it can be considered further,” a QIC spokesperson said.
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