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 161 ha 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 $1 billion 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 10.30 am at Merrigum Bowls Club.