Dubbo abattoir is located in central NSW and is the largest meat processor in Australia.

Current Operation

  • Operating (as at 2013)


Australia. Dubbo

Map Dubbo 002



dubbo plant_edited-1Source http://www.flectchin.com.au
The Dubbo processing facility

  • Is a world leading sheep meat processing plant that is fully integrated processing all parts of the animal4
  • processes own wool and significant quantities of shorn wool into tops, which are sold across the world for yarn4
  • main production is sheep meat, wool tops and various by products4
  • Exports to 95 countries4
  • Dubbo employs about 450 people, Processing capacity of 40,000 head13



  • NSW government enacted a policy of decentralisation, led to slaughter works being established at Gunnedah, Dubbo, Goulburn and Wagga Wagga.(Pg 223)


  • Establishment in NSW of central abattoirs in processing districts to supply all meat locally (Pg 224)
  • Six new abattoirs built Moree, Guyra, Blayney, Mudgee, Dubbo and Forbes.


  • Council abattoir had been closed and pulled down (Pg 248)10


  • Greenfield site was commissioned4
  • Roger Flectcher had tried to buy a number of other processing plants that were currently in operation or closed but others refused to sell or he was out bidded as rivals saw Mr Flectcher as a growing rival to their facilities.(Pg 248)10
  • Roger Fletcher designed, built and financed a new high tech plant at Dubbo, it was the first new plant for sheep processing in NSW for over a decade(Pg 248)10
  • Plant was innovative in way it was run10
    • new employment policies setting up first enterprise bargaining agreements in Australia(Pg 248)10
      • Allowed shift work, which other abattoirs couldn’t do due to union suppported tally system (Pg 248)10
      • worked with AMIEU, Minister of Agricultural Industries (Simon Crean) to establish new working culture and training programs (Pg 248)10
        • Dubbo was the first registered training organisation for the meat industry outside of TAFE (Pg 248)10
      • Dubbo was the first plant to hot-bone mutton10
        • Traditionally lamb was cold boned and packaged in carcass sold in stockings as legs, back straps and trunk, hot boning meant the carcass was broken up while still warm and cut into primal cuts12

plate freezers_edited-1Source http://www.fletchint.com.au

The Plate freezing equipment used that is automated


  • Fellmongery commenced operation (Fellmongery is the process of removing wool from the skin)4
    • previously skins had been going to France unprocessed(Pg 248)10
    • The fellmongery produced wool tops. Through support of then Keating government wool scouring and wool tops plant was established to to make clothing, textiles and footwear(Pg 248)10
      • First example in Australia of a wool processing plant incorporated with an abattoir (Pg 248)10
      • Economies of scale of the vertical integration using inputs of labour and water assisted production (Pg 248)10


  • Wool scouring and topmaking plant started operation4


  • Roger Flectcher awarded the Distinguished Australian of the Year Award (Pg 251) in recognition of his contribution to business’s and community  in advice and assistance on many matters, some outside of the meat industry10


  • Fletchers expand to Western Australia – Narrikup abattoir (WA)12 (Abattoir listing yet to be added to this blog site)


  • Transport difficulties were always a problem at Dubbo, NSW had maximum weight limits meant 40′ containers could not be fully utilised.10
  • Flectcher’s built their own rail siding and spur line as the NSW government wouldn’t finance it10
    • 1.2km long12
  • Fletchers purchase Mudgee abattoir (NSW)


  • Roger Flectcher was acknowledged for indigenous employment with Neville bonner Memorial Award, this award also commended his work in employing disadvantaged youth (Pg 251)10


  • Charles Sturt University bestowed an Honorary doctorate of Business on Roger Fletcher (Pg 251)10


  • December. Slashing production and reducing staff, Dubbo retrenched 300.7
    • Night shift will continue, traneeships suspended, employment no longer offered to Asian students, grey nomad travellers and gap-year students preparing for university11
    • Issues raised by Roger Fletcher in regards to production downturn – Devasting drought throughout eastern Australia, extensive world-wide industry changes, rising costs and plummeting sheep numbers11
      • Plans to gear back up facility when drought breaks11
    • National sheep herd at its lowest level sincer federation at 71.6M head7
      • fallen 7% in last year, down by 17.5M compared to June 20067
        • Citing Live export as major factor as many breeding ewes are being exported.7
        • Australia exported live sheep 3,578,182 (CY 2009)9, lowest export volume since 1990/91 and prior to that had never been lower after 1974/75.8 See Australian Sheep Industry
          • Authors note – I believe most sheep sent to Live export are older sheep or males, not suited for lamb slaughter in Australia.
        • Lee Norris (AMIEU) blamed Live export industry, particularly demand from the Middle East for pushing saleyard prices higher.7
      • Saleyard prices of sheep at historical highs7
      • Global financial crisis had failed to lead to expected falls in domestic and international demand.7
        • Surging demand for Australian lamb, domestically and internationally7
      • high Australian Dollar – Currently at US91.25c7
    • Tough times for entire meat processing industry, particularly exporters.7
    • December is normally a high throughput period, standdowns usually occur in winter.7


  • January. Shift reduction – forced to scale back production because of a drop in stock numbers caused by the drought1
  • Shrinking sheep flock and record lamb prices blamed for cutbacks5
  • Plant wanted to merge night and day shift into one 10 hour day6
    • AMIEU demanded redundancies6
    • Plant proposed one week on/one week off shift structure.6
  • Fair work Australia hearing – new arrangement6
    • 300 casual staff without work1
    • 10 hour shift, four days a week, as first proposed with no redundancies.6
  • May. Hiring 50 new staff – plans to operate one shift a day and not 25
  • could take up to 5 years to reach peak production due to drought impacts5
  • Producers are holding breeding sheep in restocking phase after good rain6
    • forced the price of lamb up6
    • If you have less sheep you’ve got to get the most from the product you have” Roger Fletcher, Company director6
      • to obtain extra cuts from sheep carcase, plant requires more people6
  • 5000 head of sheep being processed a day since end of January.6
  • Dubbo current capacity around 9,000 sheep a day.14
    • Exports over two thirds to 90 countries
    • Largest employer in the area that is inland regional
      • Around 40,000 population, 11% Indigenous
  • Dubbo employs 900 full time staff.14
    • Approximately 5% of all wage and salary earners in Dubbo
    • 70% of staff are full time and mostly male
    • 70 employees work in high-technology wool-top-making facility on site
    • Employ around 150-200 Indigenous people at any one time
    • Some overseas workers – Up to 65 overseas employees can be employed at one time under working holiday 417 visas.
    • Don’t use 457 visa holders to any great extent
    • All Halal accreditated slaughtermen are Australian residents
    • An EBA is in effect and provides pay and conditions above award rates
      • facility for staff to be paid piece rates
      • two thirds of workers are union members
      • AMIEU elected representatives on site
      • Joint consultative committee
    • Strong emphasis on internal promotion to act as reward and strategy to retain staff


  • April Plant processing at only 60%3
  • Wool processing plant shut down due to Chinese competition (Pg 249)



Source http://www.fletchint.com.au
Some of the 70 markets that the Fletcher company export too showing one of their brand labels.

Sources Dubbo.2  #2309

  1.  ‘Young reeling after abattoir closure’ ABC rural. 04.02.10
  2.  ‘Abattoir industry in disastrous state’ ABC rural 16.02.10
  3.  ‘Abattoir closures to come’ Weekly times 27.04.11
  4. ‘Roger Fletcher’ Lifting the Lid on Quiet achievers. 18.06.13.
  5. ‘Dubbo abattoir hiring new staff’ ABC News. 11.05.10.
  6. ‘Abattoir hiring new blood’ Daily Liberal. 11.05.2010
  7. ‘Lamb exporters make savage cuts’ The Australian 14.12.2009
  8. Australian Livestock export trade. N Austin 2011
  9. http://www.daff.gov.au, Sheep export voyages
  10. World on a Plate. Stephen Martyn. 2014
  11. ‘Fletcher chops 300 jobs at Dubbo’ The Land 09.12.2009
  12. ‘Roger Fletcher’ Meat Trade News Daily 01.01.2013
  13. Meat Processing in Australia. IBIS world. January 2014
  14. Work-skills-and-training-2301-1
  15. https://www.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/614359/Fletcher-Roger-James.pdf
  16. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-05-11/dubbo-abattoir-hiring-new-staff/429854. 11.05.2010
  17. https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2013/10/24/dubbo-abattoir-completes-religious-kill/. 24.10.2013
  18. http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/2856478/dubbo-abattoir-and-workers-trying-to-sort-out-pay-and-production-dispute/. 03.02.2015
  19. http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2015-05-04/fletchers-shut-abattoir-for-a-week/6443354. 04.05.2015
  20. http://www.farmonline.com.au/story/3297667/stock-agents-told-to-chip-in-to-saleyard/. 01.06.2015
  21. http://www.theland.com.au/story/4557324/energy-crisis-could-push-red-meat-processing-offshore/. 01.04.2017

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