Charleville. #101. QLD

A goat processing facility that is currently operating located in central QLD. This facility exports all its production. Charleville had past problems of securing visa workers to ensure ability to continue production. Floods have affected operations and government costs. Currently goat values are very good with a significant increase in various export markets

Other Names

  • Western export abattoirs
  • Western Meat Exporters

Current Operation

  • Currently operating.
  • Aus-Meat accreditation #01014
  • 100% export3
  • Processing capacity of up to 15,000 animals per week.26
    • 3,000 head a day26


  • Charleville

Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • Western Exporters2
    • totally Australian owned3
    • Managing Director – Neil Duncan6


  • Processes mainly Goats,1
    • is licencsed to process sheep but not currently doing so3
  • Minimum dressed weight 10kg, ferals dress out about 42% with skin off.1
  • Producers use goats to supplement income with beef and sheep1
  • The largest goat processor in Australia3
  • Established with the main purpose to produce Halal goat and sheep meat products for all export markets3
    • United states3
    • European union3
    • Asia3
    • Middle east3



  • Before the Charleville abattoir was built the government were spending $16M a year to control goats27.
    • Goats were regarded as feral27
  • August. Facility rebuilt after devastating fire3
    • Facility had only been  six months old27
  • Major flooding occurs in the Charleville area20


  • October. Charleville abattoir refuse to pay $12,929 accreditation fee for 1999/2000 to QLD Livestock and Meat Authority (QLDMLA)2
    • QLDMLA served notice it would suspend licence if not paid2
    • Cause closure of abattoir currently employing 94 people2
    • Fee is due for any abattoir operating in the state of QLD2
    • Fee structure had been lowered from $15,000 to $12,9292
  • Abattoir and QLDMLA long running dispute concerning payment of fees2.
    • Had paid QLDMLA last 3 years yet a representative had never been on premises or conducted an audit2
    • QLDMLA is not the regulating body for export2
    • Abattoir do not sell meat domestically2
    • QLDMLA say fee is to maintain integrity of States meat processing system2
      • set by legislation and payable by all red meat processors2
      • Equivalent entry level fees NSW $2,000, Victoria $1,6002
  • Abattoir already paid fees for AQIS Export accreditation $30,000 pa2
    • Also paid $1,200 per month Ausmeat inspection fees2
    • Further $1,200 per month for AQIS audits2


  • Major flooding occurs in the Charleville area20


  • Western Exports win by bidding tender for Broken Hill Exports company5
    • Broken Hill abattoir at Broken hill shut down by  AQIS in November 2005, failed to meet guidelines5
  • May. 22 employees at the Charleville abattoir are on 457 temporary visa program38


  • April. AQIS close facility as notice issued in November 2005 wasn’t complied with to improve yards to meet animal welfare standards of export abattoirs6.
    • 140 laid off for 2 weeks while improvments are made6
    • Director, Neil Duncan claimed could have been negotiated and stoppage not occur6
  • May. Abattoir employs 15 Vietnamese skilled workers and wants to employ another 50 immediately7
    • Visa applications are not being processed and is a problem being faced by meat abattoirs around the nation7

“This is Australia-wide…the Government has put a hold on all applications for the meat industry and, you know, I see on TV the unions up and down saying they’re going to lose Australian jobs…. well where are they?” Neil Duncan, managing director7

“Send them out to Charleville….there’s work here for them straight away” Neil Duncan. Managing Director7

  • Immigration department say there is no hold on visa applications7
    • allegations some employers are abusing the program and the department is in discussion with the industry over the concerns7
    • department understands Australia is experiencing a significant skill shortage7
  • July. Charleville abattoir begins a $2M expansion8
    • Enable production up to 3,000 head in an 8 hour shift of skin-on goats8
    • create another 50 jobs and boost export income by $15M8
    • US consumes 70-80% of the product produced8
    • Taiwan is big for 6 months for their winter season8
  • August. Charleville abattoir wants to employ 20 employees from Vietnam with visas9.
    • Federal government blocks application as meatworkers do not qualify as skilled workers9
    • Charleville had struggled 15 years ago because of decline in wool, now the abattoir was an important employer9
    • Senator Ron Boswell says he will help the abattoir overcome the visa restrictions by meeting ministers of immigration and workplace relations to push to have visas approved.9




  • October. Australian dollar currently at 90 cents US, Is not good for exports10

“Overseas in the US they are actually paying the highest rate they have ever paid for a kilo of goat meat, but when you revert it back through our exchange rate we’re actually receiving the lowest we’ve received in 12 months” Neil Duncan. Managing director10

  • November. Neil Duncan travelled to Vietnam on a recruitment drive for workers11
    • Once worker shortage is filled in Charleville, work can resume at the Broken hill meatworks11



  • Major flooding occurs in the Charleville area20
  • March. Charleville closes down temporarily due to critical staff shortages12
    • 100 workers laid off for an indefintie period with full entitlements12
      • Authors note. Another article cites. 90 workers laid off25
      • Included 15 Vietnamese workers who entered Australia on 457 visas25.
    • Need at least 50 more staff12
      • Need at least another 60 staff to remain viable25
    • $2M worth of product is being thrown out a year that should be boxed and exported12
    • Applications for visa workers are being held up by Federal government12
      • Immigration department was rejected repeated applications for more meatworkers from Vietnam25
        • Abattoir failed to meat 457 rules requiring Australians to be trained for jobs held by the foreign workers during the 4 year span of their visas15
      • Charleville facility has been trying to get immigrant workers for over 2 and a half years25
    • People are going to the mines, city for better conditions, bigger money and better lifestyle13
    • There is a chronic shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers25
  • Current Proprietor of Western Exporters – Neil Duncan25
  • Minimum wage at the present time is $803.00 a week25
    • AMIEU believe closure is a tactic by Charleville abattoir to pressure Canberra to allow the abattoir to employ migrants on lower than minimum wage awards25
  • April. Federal government will not allow employees from overseas unless the abattoir signs an agreement to employ the same number of local workers14
  • Agforce  says will be a significant drop in income for goat producers if the abattoir remains closed15
  • November. Overseas workers been allowed under the 457 visa program16
    • Employment from 90 to over 150 people now16
    • 24,000 goats processed in the last 2 weeks16
    • Setting new records for its production16
    • Should have been doing these sort of numbers years ago to keep up with the goat industry16


  • February. Abattoir faces charges under the Land Act and the Integrated Planning Act, Department of Natural resources alleged it was land clearing without a permit17
    • Issued compliance notice to restore 240 ha native vegetation17
    • Millions of goats had been held on the land while they awaited processing, Mulga trees had died due to grazing pressure and drought17
    • All the company did was remove dead timber17
    • Before the Charleville magistrates court17
    • If company has to revegetate will have to lay off 40 workers and cut production of number of goats being processed17
  • December. New production record set18

“We hit our record of 2,780 skin-on goats for an eight hour period but we should have been at these levels probably five years ago but we’ve struggled with labour” Neil Duncan Managing director18


  • March. Major flooding occurs in Charleville area20
  • Abattoir closed due to flooding19
    • Roads leading in and out of Charleville all flooded21
      • Unable to export or import product21
    • 180 workers stood down21
    • no time frame in place for re-opening21
  • Abattoir is too expensive to keep operating19
    • Needs government assistance to reopen19
    • Pay AQIS whether working or not $8,000 or $10,000 per week19
    • $60,000 in electricity a month19
    • Running costs are basically $400,000 a week19
  • re-opening of abattoir crucial to regions economy22
    • Government, Prime Minister assured abattoir nothing get in the way of reopening and workers on visa’s don’t leave region and stay for the plant to re-open22
    • Regional economy is losing $1M a week while abattoir is closed22
    • throughput in the community is in the order of $5M a month from abattoir operations22
  • April. Abattoir re-opens23
    • Getting access to goats has been a problem but abattoir is in full operation23


  • At this point in time Charleville abattoir is the largest goat meat processor in the world26
  • May. Charleville participates in a sponsored Meat and Livestock Australia food expo in Shanghai with 14 other mostly beef and lamb producers26
  • July. Since the Shanghai food expo Charleville have signed $3M worth of orders with more to come26
  • US and Taiwan were traditionally the biggest goat meat importers26
    • Flat US economy and loosening of import regulations to China has made China more attractive export proposition26
  • Currently processing 15,000 animals per week26
    • 3,000 head a day26
  • Largest line, skin on product, Europeans call ‘Smokie’26
  • Western Meat exporters is the only processor in Australia that doesn’t have a boning room26
    • bone is left in with the meat frozen and cut into cubes26.
      • Packed into 1kg bags26
    • Customers traditionally use their hands to eat – they want warm product and to hold the bone” Trade and Investment QLD spokesman Morgan Gronold26
  • Operational costs of Charleville abattoir are getting too expensive26.
    • would be willing to move his operations offshore26
    • We just can’t compete, and electricity prices are making things pretty tough” Neil Duncan Western Meat Exports managing director26.
  • Charleville abattoir has operating capacity of 200 employees but at the moment only has 17526.
    • employees are too difficult to source26
  • Western QLD suppliers are urged not to move to far to pure Boer goat genetics26
    • Boer goats tend to put too much fat cover26
      • Most goat is slow cooked where high fat content isn’t desired26



  • Number of new chillers had been added to facility extension27
  • July. Currently operating at full capacity.24
  • 80% of the feral goat herd is coming from the Surat Basin area.24
  • Roma #2 – Proposed (QLD) not looking to compete against Charleville.24

Source. Goatmeat-Fast-Facts-2014_EMAIL

Source Goatmeat-Fast-Facts-2014_EMAIL

  • October. Two 40-foot containers back up to the 1300 carcase capacity fridges for a daily trip to Brisbane port27
    • Output is set to grow27
  • Charleville abattoir has a 100% export focus27
    • Current director at this time – Campbell McPhee27.
    • Since free trade talks with Korea, exports to that country had increase 140-fold27
  • New techniques to reduce hair contamination and modern equipment keep pace with the stringent health requirements demanded by overseas markets27
    • Sprays and vacuums are in use to achieve zero tolerance hair control27
    • Workers have colour coded hair nets to show what jobs and areas of the abattoir they are allowed27
      • separate eating rooms to prevent possible contamination between different parts of the plant27
  • Current livestock purchases of 16,000 goats per week27
    • 75% of supply comes from NSW27
    • Processing 3,000 head per day27
      • the kill line moving 6.5 goats every minute27
  • Currently employing 185 people and another 15 in the trucking company27
    • Western meat exporters use their own trucks to collect goats from properties and depots26


  • January. Goat is worth $3.70 (12.1 to 16kg carcass weight)39.
  • There are approximately 6 million wild goats in Australia29.
    • Generally regarded as a pest, increasingly becoming regarded as a good alternative income29.
  • Australian exports of goat meat have doubled to 35,800t in 2014 since 200429.
    • Most is sold to the USA for Hispanic population29.
  • Live exports of goat have jumped from 50,500 head to 88,500 from 2004 to 201429.
  • Wild goats are purchased for $1.70/kg live weight29.
  • Live export goat price is $4.20/kg live weight29.
    • Average goat sells for $55 per head29.
  • August. Charleville (Game meat) abattoir that had closed in 2009 due to the collapse of the Russian kangaroo market proposes an upgrade to the facility to process 350 head a day of cattle35.
    • Employ 140 people35
    • Chinese investor $45M, who has become a partner in the business35
    • Expected to be in operation within a year35
  • October. Bourke Shire backs a proposal to build the abattoir29.
    • Expected to cost $61M. Bourke. Currently under construction. NSW
      • Aims to process 6,000 goats a day40
      • Employ 200 people 40
      • Abattoir should be up and running by mid 201740.
      • Developer Capra Pty Ltd40.
        • Capra is made up of partners with experience in both export and market processing operations and supply37
  • Another proposal to build a facility at Blayney NSW
    • Developer – Metziya40.
    • Would process 4,500 animals per day40
      • but it had received public opposition.
  • Bourke goat abattoir is expected to cost $60M to build30
    • Create 200 jobs30
    • World’s largest goat processing abattoir30
  • Currently 90% of the states (NSW) goats are transported interstate to be sold30
    • 95% of those transported are killed and processed in QLD, Victoria and South Australia30

Source. mla_goat-fast-facts-2015

Source. mla_goat-fast-facts-2015

  • Rangelands goats are currently the star performers of Australian red meat sector in 201531.
    • Farm-gate prices for goats have almost doubled in past 12 months to over $5 per kg31.
    • There has been a fundamental increase in demand relative to supply31.
      • In the past Australia has largely relied on one market the USA to take its product31.
      • Had been no other high volume markets to force price upwards pressures31.
    • Now there are new and emerging markets61.
      • Competing against the USA for goat meat product31.
      • Increasing markets to Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, and China31.
    • Demand is likely to grow as trade tariff barriers are reduced with recently secured Free Trade Agreements31.
  • A number of southern Sheep processing plants are now processing goats in response to positive demand outlook31.
  • Supply pressure of goats has not been as constant this year due to increased demand31.
  • Goat populations  in the past have mostly been sourced by opportunistic harvesting of wild herds31.
    • MLA estimates there are around 4M head of goats in Australia at present31.
      • Only 500,000 are in managed herds31.
    • Challenge for industry is whether it can build a supply base to fulfil and sustain new levels of demand31.
  • Prices for goats have traditionally fluctuated31
    • To encourage sustainable development of the industry a five year strategy has been released31.
    • Goatmeat and Livestock Industry Strategic Plan 2020
  • Goats have a low cost of production that has some advantages over raising other stock31.
  • December. Bourke abattoir gets Federal government funding $10M32.
    • Grant will assist the facility to overcome challenges of isolation and lack of infrastructure at the remote site32.


  • January. Goat meat is worth $5 /kg (12.1 to 16kg carcass weight)39.
  • Charleville #101. QLD. Says its future will be jeopardised if the Bourke plant goes ahead33.
    • Goat supply in QLD, NSW and Victoria is too low to accommodate a new abattoir33.
    • Charleville #101 QLD processed 70% of the goats sourced from producers across the border in 201533.
      • Charleville processed 620,000 animals last year for export33.
    • If the Bourke plant is successful in being built it would threaten processing jobs at Charleville facility33.
    • Charleville never received a similar grant from the government and feel it is an unfair advantage to the Bourke site33.
  • Currently in NSW there are seven different abattoir processing goats33.
  • Authors note. The above reference was by the speaker of the article, it may include domestic facilities that are not on this blog.(03/12/2017)

Source Australian Abattoirs Locations – Australian goat processing abattoirs as per Aus-meat as at 02/10/2017

Above diagram. Bourke is indicated by the green pointer slightly above centre of picture. Charleville is located directly above Bourke to the far north. Abattoirs are marked as red for Export or blue for Domestic accreditations. No abattoirs specialise only in goat processing. Most are combinations of beef, sheep and goat. There are facilities in WA and one in Tasmania not shown on this diagram

  • Murweh Shire council Mayor, Dennis Cook speaks and writes to Federal government explaining his shire don’t want to see ‘a big lot of government money coming in and propping them up, because our business here is a wonderfully run business…”, Charleville #101 QLD Shire council explains is a privately run business34.
    • Charleville shire don’t want to interfere in what happens in NSW but they are concerned the Bourke facility will negatively impact on the employees at Charleville34.
  • February. Bourke Site Plans are developed and submitted for approval36
  • March. NSW Planning and Environment release a media statement for community views on the Bourke abattoir36.
    • Bourke abattoir will have capacity to process 6,000 goats, sheep or lambs per day for export36.
    • Submissions close 26/04/201636
  • Stock Supply. Bourke abattoir make an agreement with a goat depot located in Bourke to supply the facility (Pg 2)43.
    • Depot currently sends 200,000 outside of Bourke for sale or process(Pg 2)43
  • August. Proposal to revamp existing closed Kangaroo abattoir at Charleville Game meat. QLD 35
    • Facility will be refurbished to suit killing cattle35
    • Chinese Investor $45M35
  • December. Development consent for the Bourke abattoir has been approved37.
      • Now in the construction certificate phase37.
        • Project spokesperson JPA Business Managing Director – James Price37.
        • Slaughter level of 6,000 head per day will take some time to reach at an operational level37
          • When fully operational the facility will have the potential to almost double the value of goat exports from Australia37.
  • Bourke abattoir will be a useful outlet for producers who rely on meat exporters slaughtering in other states37.
    • Major priority  is to capture the goat meat demand in the international market37.


  • January. Goat meat is worth $6/kg (12.1 to 16kg Carcass weight)39.
  • May. Currently employ 165 staff28
    • 52 of the 165 are undertaking the 457 temporary visa program38
    • Federal government had announced they would abolish the 457 program but have rectified the decision to not impact the meat industry38

Source ‘Vietnamese farmer moved to Charleville to  give his children a better education’ QLD Country Life 12/05/2017

  • June. Construction of the cement foundations begins39.
    • Plant is expected to be operational early 201839.
  • When in operation it is expected to boost Bourke regional economy by 30%39.
    • approximately $50M is expected to be injected into the Bourke local economy per year39.
  • Estimates of 5.8M goats in Western NSW39.
    • 50-60% of all of Australia’s feral goats located in NSW44.
    • Others dispute these figures39.
      • Bourke. Local producers ‘economics’ would play a major role to determine if they sent their stock to the facility39.
  • DPI is about to start a new goat count across NSW39
  • This week goat carcasses hit $7.50/kg, averaging $6.50/kg14.
    • January 2015, the monthly average was $3.70 (12.1 to 16kg carcass weight)14.
    • January 2016 $5/kg14.
    • January 2017 $6/kg14.
  • Australian Goat industry is currently in a rebuilding phase39.
    • Market potential in Europe39.
    • Goat meat was being included in new Brexit trade talks39..
  • it was a big challenge to get more western graziers to produce goats39
  • August. A new goat abattoir is proposed for the Goulburn Valley, Gillieston (Proposed) Vic.41.
    • Capacity of 3,000 head per day41.
    • Plant could be operational in about 18 months if approvals go through41.
  • November. 2,197 solar panels are installed on the roofs of the facility42
    • rising energy costs are a major threat to the profitability of the meat processing sector
    • Cost $1.4M42.
      • 756KW system, equivalent to power requirements of 252 homes42.
      • Panels are designed to operate independently in case one is covered by shadow or dust42.
      • Initiative was wholly privately funded42.
        • Australian Renewable Energy agency didn’t provide assistance as they were more interested in new and emerging technology42.
      • Costs of the installation expected to be re-couped within 5 years42..
      • cost of panels was actually less than the plants annual electricity bill42

Source ‘Charleville’s solar innovator’ QLD Country Life 23.11.2017

  • December. NSW Department of primary Industries conduct a rangeland population survey of goats46.
    • Show goat herd has declined from 5.7M in 2016 to 3.4M in 201746
    • Aerial survey was conducted of central and western NSW46
    • Lower numbers could be due to 46
      • Dry seasonal conditions46
        • Poor reproductive rates of livestock and goats46
      • Efficient goat harvesting operations in the area46


  1. ‘Goats prove Winton winners’ QLD Country life 13.06.2013
  2. ‘Closure looms for Charleville abattoir’ QLD Country life 13.10.1999
  3. – Accessed 07.03.2014
  4. aus meat accreditation as at 01.01.2014
  5. ‘QLD company set to become leading goat exporter’ ABC News 16.12.2005
  6. ‘Goat abattoir lays of 140 in quarantine dispute’ ABC news. 04.04.2006
  7. ‘Immigration delay hampers goat meat abattoir expansion’ ABC news. 29.05.2006
  8. ‘Expansion of Aust largest goat abattoir gets under way’ ABC News. 31.07.2006
  9. ‘Boswell vows to help meatworks secure visas’ ABC news 14.08.2006
  10. ‘Strong dollar hurting goat meat exports’ ABC News 16.10.2007
  11. ‘Meatworks owner hopes new government frees up foreign worker recruitment’ ABC news 27.11.2007
  12. ‘Goat meat exporter to shut Charleville abattoir’ ABC News 20.03.2008
  13. ‘Goat abattoir closes outback QLD plant’ ABC News 26.03.2008
  14. ‘Govet unmoved on abattoir worker conditions’ ABC News 03.04.2008
  15. ‘Abattoir closure ‘will hurt goat producers’ ABC News 03.04.2008
  16. ‘Goat abattoir breaks production records’ ABC News 04.11.2008
  17. ‘Goat abattoir owners face land clearing charges’ ABC News 10.02.2009
  18. ‘Goat production hits high’ ABC News 10.12.2009
  19. ‘Goat abattoir too expensive to run’ ABC News 09.03.2010
  20. ‘Flood-drunk Charleville’
  21. ‘Floods close abattoir’ The Chronicle 10.03.2010
  22. ‘Meatworks re-opening crucial’ ABC News 17.03.2010
  23. ‘Goat abattoir re-opens after flood woes’ ABC News 09.04.2010
  24. ‘Roma ramps up abattoir study’ QLD Country Life 31.07.2014
  25. ‘Lack of migrant staff forces Charleville abattoir to shut’ The Australian 22/03/2008
  26. ‘Charleville’s China forey’ QLD Country Life 01/07/2013
  27. ‘Charleville goats full bore’ QLD Country Life 21/10/2014
  28. ‘Developers say $38M Blayney goat abattoir will provide …..’ Central Western Daily 07/05/2015
  29. ‘Growth in goat farming in Bourke for halal butchers and restaurants’ 08/06/2015
  30. ‘Bourke goat abattoir could be a “game-changer”, says MP’ ABC News 22/10/2015
  31. ‘What is behind the rise and rise of goat prices? Beef Central 29/10/2015
  32. ‘Bourke goat abattoir gets Federal government funding’ ABC rural 08/12/2015
  33. ‘QLD goat processor says jobs will go if government-backed Bourke abattoir is built’ ABC news 05/01/2016
  34. ‘Cross border goat abattoir competition’ Charleville Plus More. 14/01/2016
  35. ‘Charleville set to get abattoir in 2017’ Sunshine daily 02/08/2016
  36. Proposed Small Stock Abattoir. Capra Developments Feb 2016
  37. ‘Bourke abattoir gets OK’ The Land 07/12/2016
  38. ‘Vietnamese farmer moved to Charleville to  give his children a better education’ QLD Country Life 12/05/2017
  39. ‘Bourke abattoir on way’ The Land 08/06/2017
  40. ‘Two new goat abattoirs planned in Bourke and Blayney’ The Land 09/07/2016
  41. ‘Abattoir in the works’ Country News 09/08/2017
  42. ‘Charleville’s solar Innovator’ QLD Country Life 23/11/2017
  43. Bourke. Small stock abattoir. Environmental Impact Statement March 2016
  44. media release 27/07/2017
  46. ‘Latest goat industry data’ NSW DPI 13/12/2017

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