50 jobs for local workers at proposed meatworks
"WE MIGHT even have our own cricket team" Blair Angus said when speaking about the village of workers that will run his Sondella Station abattoir, about an hour north of Moranbah.
The proposed abattoir is waiting on public submissions on a development application now before Isaac Regional Council.
Without jumping the gun on the approval of the abattoir, Mr Angus said if successful it would employ about 50 people and slaughter 200 head of a cattle a day.
Mr Angus, a fourth generation cattle producer at Sondella Station, said the meatworks, if approved, would shore up his business.
Cattle are currently processed off site - the only part of the business Mr Angus doesn't have full control of.
He has been boxing his beef since the 1999, which started at Rare Event in Mackay where producers gave free samples of their product away to locals.
Since then he has sold his beef to more than 30 countries with export equating to 40%-60% of his business.
"I will say categorically I am not a gambler and from my perspective this is a calculated investment," he said.
"If a customer has specific specifications it gives us the opportunity to do it the best we possibly can."
These specifications range from how different regions have their meat cut, including how sirloin steaks don't have a layer of fat on them in Europe.
As for the workers, Mr Angus said he "hoped to employ local kids from the bush".
"Particularly a lot of young people who have grown up in the bush who have to go away to get a trade.
"We hoped we could provide an opportunity for younger people to stay in the beef industry.
"I would love to think we can draw most of the people from the immediate area."
As for having the workers' village on Sondella Station, Mr Angus said it would be hard to get a workforce of about 50 to commute to the property every day.
"Our aim is to have a village there where people work together and have the same goals," he said.
"We might even have our own cricket team."
THE proposed Sondella Meat Processing facility, with a workers' camp, will permanently employ about 50 people, consisting of management, plant employees and support staff.
The 'village' design caters for families, couples and singles. It also has a dining hall, kitchen and laundry.
The development application states the meatworks will have a "strong commitment to hiring and training local people and providing a career path in the meat processing industry".
"Local employees with a background in other industries will have an equal opportunity of employment."
The benefit of the onsite workforce will allow the company to have greater flexibility in wet weather and avoid damage to unsealed council roads.
DEVELOPMENT Applications obtained by The Mercury reveal the abattoir at Sondella Station on Pasha Rd would be able slaughter about 200 head of cattle a day.
The abattoir will allow the company to "develop their product to suit specific specifications required by China and Europe".
"It will be an on farm facility with the ability to deliver significant returns to the already integrated beef model developed by the Angus Family," the development application lodged with Isaac Regional Council on September 15 2015.
The station is owned by Blair Angus and the Angus family also own and operate Kimberly Station, Chesterfield Station and Carpentaria Station.
Across all the 100,000 acres of land the stations run more than 35,000 head of cattle according to the documents.
"The Isaac Shire will be on the forefront of bringing the paddock to plate story to the World," the application reads.
"The consumer increasingly wants to know where, how and who has produced the food they eat."
ABOUT 70 people could be living in a workers' camp for a new meatworks that may be built an hour's drive north of Moranbah.
A development application lodged with Isaac Regional Council and now up for public consultation proposes building a meatworks, workers' camp, water pipeline and sewerage treatment at 2231 Pasha Rd, Pasha.
The consulting firm that submitted the development application is seeking approval for material change of use and associated environmentally relevant activities.
The land is currently zoned as rural land, with an existing feedlot of 5000 head and a water pipeline.
The public comment period starts on Wednesday, October 26, and ends on November 16.