Category Archives: Biloela

Queensland abattoirs listed – regions

North Queensland

Ayr abattoir (QLD)

Small processor located 90km south of Townsville, currently in operation

Biboohra abattoir (QLD)

Historical abattoir closed in 1927, Also known as Baron works, located near Mareeba.

Owned by MJ Munro, operated as a slaughterhouse in the early days and then a cannery.

Bowen abattoir (QLD)

Located 230km south of Townsville on the QLD coast.Was in operation at 1919, went through fires, labour disputes and temporary closures. Purchased by AMH, the final owners and permanently closed in 1997.

Cairns abattoir (QLD)

Cairns (more commonly known as Queerah meatworks) was located in far north QLD received cattle from mainly north Australia, often by Barge from the NT and Normanton that had travelled from the gulf of Carpentaria in the 1960’s to 1975. Began to export in 1950’s closed in 1989 as part of the AMH rationalisation strategy of its abattoir capacity through the 1980’s.

Camooweal abattoir (QLD)

Located 190km northwest of Mt Isa, small processor currently operating that supplies own butchery for retail.

Canon Vale (QLD)

A small local processor currently in operation, located 70 km south of Bowen between Townsville and Mackay.

Cape River abattoir (QLD)

Located  south west of Townsville. Closed in 1986 due to the AMH  rationalisation strategy of its abattoirs capacity through the 1980’s.

Pentland abattoir (QLD)

Built prior to WWII, At one stage was the 2nd largest meatworks in Queensland. Last owned by AMH consortium, closed in 1989

Ross River abattoir (QLD)

Built in 1882, QLD meat export agency formed supplied contracts for supply of product to England. Plagued by industrial action its whole operating life most notably in 19919 when a violent clash between the unions and police occurred. Been through ownership receiver, beef price crash, strikes, droughts and market changes. Smorgons meat processors, last owner collapses in 1994, facility closed in 1995. Site now developed as a residential site with only the chimney still remaining as a historic site.

Tolga abattoir (QLD)

Small processor currently operating near Cairns

Townsville – Stuart

Owned by JBS. Large beef processor located in far north QLD

Tully abattoir (QLD)

Small processor currently operating between Cairns and Townsville

Weipa abattoir (QLD)

Small local processor

Central Queensland

Charleville abattoir – goat processor (Central QLD)

A goat processing facility that is currently operating located in central QLD. This facility exports all its production. Has had past problems of securing visa workers to ensure ability to process production. Floods have affected operations and government costs while plant has been closed at different periods.

Clermont abattoir (QLD)

Small local processor

Cloncurry #1 abattoir (QLD)

Small local processor currently operating

Cloncurry #2, proposed abattoir (QLD)

Proposal sponsored by DAFF 2012. Consider establishment of an abattoir at Cloncurry to process cattle from north west QLD and NT. Based on processing 100,000 heavy cattle per year, costing $49M to build not including land or government services. Marginal return expected on investment.

El Arish abattoir (QLD)

Located near Innisfail, a small processor that is currently operating.

Giru abattoir (QLD)

Domestic abattoir currently operating south of Townsville

Innisfail abattoir (QLD)

Owned by CMG then Teys, Hit by cyclone Larry in 2006, never to be reopened, equipment scrapped and auctioned off in 2011.

Mt Isa abattoir (QLD)

Built in the war years and closed in 1986

Southern Queensland

Beenleigh abattoir (QLD)

Large facility owned by Teys, currently in operation located south of Brisbane.Recently had a number of wage disputes. Invests heavily in new technology to optimise labour efficencies, currently operating 2 shifts processing 1,300 cattle per day

Caboolture abattoir (QLD)

Located in Queensland, one of only 2 abattoirs in Australia accredited for export of horse meat.

Dinmore abattoir (QLD)

The largest meat processing plant in Australia, currently operating and owned by JBS Australia. Located near Brisbane QLD.

Kilcoy abattoir (QLD)

Located northwest of Brisbane and primarily processes grainfed cattle. 4th largest abattoir in Australia, currently operating.

Oakey abattoir (QLD)

Located near Toowoomba, a large processing facility of mainly grain-fed beef, owned by Nippon. Currently processing up to 1300 animals per day. Has undergone significant upgrades to enable traceability for organic certification and assurances, with current work being carried out on methane gas collection. Problems in the past have been market fluctuations, unions and costs of production

Surat abattoir – Kangaroo processor (QLD)

Games meat abattoir located south of Roma. Processes Kangaroo. Started in mid 1980’s, possibly now closed due to floods, debt and costs of services to operate.

Queensland abattoirs listed – A-Z

These are the abattoirs currently listed on this blog, it is not complete of all actual operations at this point in time

Ayr abattoir (Nth QLD)

Beenleigh abattoir (Sth QLD).

Biboohra abattoir (Nth QLD)

Bowen abattoir (Nth QLD)

Caboolture Abattoir (QLD). Owned by Meramist Pty Ltd. A beef and horse processing facility.

Cairns abattoir ( Nth QLD)

Camooweal abattoir (Nth QLD)

Canon Vale (Nth QLD)

Cape River abattoir (Nth QLD)

Charleville abattoir – goat processor (Central QLD)

Clermont abattoir (Central QLD)

Cloncurry abattoir #1 (Central QLD)

Cloncurry #2. proposed abattoir (Central QLD)

Dinmore abattoir (Sth QLD)

El Arish (Nth QLD)

Giru abattoir (Nth QLD)

Innisfail abattoir (Nth QLD)

Kilcoy currently in operation

Mt Isa Owned by AMH, closed in 1986

Oakey abattoir (Sth QLD). Owned by Nippon. Currently operating.

Pentland (Cape River). Built originally prior to WWII, Eventually owned by AMH, closed 1989

Rockhampton – Lakes Creek Owned by Teys Australia, currently in operation.

Roma #2 (Proposed) Maronoa council seeking funding to conduct a feasibility study in 2014

Ross River Built in 1882, transformed from boiling down works to cannery to abattoir and meat processor. Finally owned by Smorgons closed 1995, Now demolished.

Surat (Wild game – kangaroo) Kangaroo processing facility, was in operation as at 2013

Tolga abattoir (QLD) 

Townsville Stuart  Owned by JBS, Currently in operation

Tully abattoir (Nth QLD)

Weipa Was in operation as at 2012







Current Operation

  • Currently Operating – currently accredited # 399 AUS-MEAT 14.01.131   
  • Employment contacts                


  Australia. Biloela jpg   

map BiloelaSource – Hema maps. Australia Truckies atlas       


Teys Logo_edited-1

Source Logo


  • Export, Beef and Offal
  • Teys also own North Rockhampton – 2009 calendar year Teys produced 15% less volume than in 2005 and 2006, with “a lot of days off” (Brad Teys)2



  • Facility was built13


  • Owned at 1999 by Teys3
  • Has a reported capacity 137,000 head per 50 weeks operation cycle3


  • Biloela moves to hire refugees
    • Booming mining sector meant unemployment rates in the region 1.9%
    • Plant was unable to fulfil production demands due to unfilled job positions
      • Plant was only operating at 80% capacity
      • Foreign labour meant it could operate at 100%


  • Teys utilise migrant workers at Biloela and Rockhampton – Lakes Creek abattoir (QLD).4
    • Workers are employed on 457 visas (Pg 17)4
    • Hired through a labour hire company AWX Pty Ltd4
      • Teys don’t directly employ the workers4
      • Workers were hired as casuals and paid a flat rate that was $2 /hr less than permanent Teys Bros employees4
    • Created a two-tiered workforce4
      • discriminatory against foreign workers4
      • reduced the labour costs.4
      • moved to a new agreement in 20134


  • October. Teys announce a reduction of days working at Biloela5
    • blaming global financial crisis5 and
    • State government’s policy favouring of live export5
  • December. 40 foreign workers are cut5
    • Afternoon boning shift component of workforce5
    • Some are Korean, holders of working holiday visas5
    • Existing 350 workers – Australian and long stay visa holders will remain5
      • Most long stay visa holders were Vietnamese5
  • Teys consider job cuts at the Rockhampton – Lakes Creek (QLD)
  • Plant closes for seasonal break 11/12/20095
    • will resume in the New Year5
    • operating a 5 day single shift5
      • Processing 554 head5
      • single boning shift5
  • Gloomy outlook is reason for shift being closed5
    • Forecasts of dramatic reduction in available cattle in 20105
      • similar to the last quarter of 20095
      • Conditions expected to persist to 20115
    • Poor seasons5
    • Floods5
    • Large number of stock being live exported from QLD5
      • tilted playing field favours live export5
    • High Australian dollar5
    • Weak demand in export markets5


  • Kill to drop from 750hd day to 550hd


  • July. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) don’t oppose Teys Bros & Cargill Beef Australia Merger7
    • View that the proposed merger would be unlikely to substantially lesson competition in any of the markets examined7
      • ‘fat’ cattle ready for slaughter7
      • acquisition of ‘feeder’ cattle destined for feedlots7
      • supply of processed beef to retailers and wholesalers7
  • Foreign labour in Australian beef processing8
    • Most people employed in meatworks and related industries are Australian citizens8
      • Depending on categories factored there are 35,000 – 50,000 employees in meat processing and handling businesses.8
      • Is a change of cultures, many have strong ethnic origins8
      • 457 Visa holders 5-10% of all food processing and manufacturing employees in Australia8
    • In 2010/11  there were 4,730 QLD 457 Visa’s granted8
      • 130 were skilled meatworkers (1.5%)8
      • Nationwide total 457 Visas issued to the entire Agriculture, forestry & fishing category is only 2.5%8
    • There is a labour shortage at all levels8
      • Competition from the mining sector8
      • labour force tends to be transient8
        • meat industry may source more foreign labour than other industries8
    • Other heavy users of 457 Visa’s8
      • Health Industry
      • Many hospitals unable to function without nursing support of imported labour8
  • Cattle supply is very tight23
    • Producer’s aren’t selling cattle due to poor prices23
    • Company (Teys) forced to reduce kill days23
      • for week beginning 18/07/2011 don’t even have one days kill organised as at 14/07/201123
    • CEO Teys Brad Teys, says been 30 years since he’s seen the supply of cattle so tight23


  • Pacific Island Workers Scheme is working well9
    • Seasonal worker program is a scheme for the Agriculture and accomodation industries to employ people from overseas for short periods. Seasonal Worker program
  • “..the Biloela meatworks have always said that there would be no foreign workers in the meatworks while there was an Australian without work” MP Ken O’Dowd9


  • Migrant workers that had previously worked under Work Choices now moved to a Meat Industry Award Agreement 2010. (Pg 17)4
    • Now received penalty rates for overtime, public holidays & shift allowances4
  • July. Beenleigh abattoir (QLD) wage dispute will not effect job security at other sites operated by Teys10
    • Beenleigh plant had much higer operation costs than Biloela or Rockhampton abattoir (QLD)10
      • Beenleigh only delivering 1% profit in the past four years10
  • If the meat processing industry is to avoid the path of the car manufacturing industry it needed to change10
    • “What we did in the 1970’s we can’t do now” Tom Maguire Teys’s general manager of corporate affairs10


  • Free Trade agreement with China is being negotiated.11
    • Possibility of 1M head of cattle a year to be exported to China11
    • AMIEU QLD Industrial officer Lee Norris says the deal would lead to thousands of lost jobs.11
    • Central QLD university professor or regional economic development John Rolfe – hugh economic boost to cattle producers and would lead to a more robust industry11
    • QLD Premier Campbell Newman supports China deal – it was critically important for agricultural industries11
    • “They’ve been doing it tough in the west and northwest for quite some time now with the drought, and at least this gives people hope that when conditions return to normal that they actually have some real opportunities in the future” – Campbell Newman11


  • February. Tropical cylcone Marcia swept over the QLD coast on 20/02/201512
    • Category 5, 300km/hr winds came across the Capricorn coast13
  • Significant structural damage has occured to12
    • JBS Rockhampton (Beef city)12
    • Teys Australia Rockhampton (Lakes Creek) abattoir (QLD)12
    • Biloela plant has not suffered damage but will lose time due to power supply problems12
    •  3 plants together account for 2,500 head a day slaughter capacity12
  • Biloela plant
    • Localised flooding12
      • Plant itself was not flooded13
    • Currently employs 400 people13
    • Currently processing 700 cattle a day13
    • did conduct half a days kill on day of the cyclone12
      • cyclone caused loss of only a single slaughter shift13
    • No Kill conducted following Monday 23/02/201512
      • boning shift is being conducted on 23/02/201512
    • Cattle at Lakes creek abattoir are either transported back to properties or origin (at Teys expense) or being sent to Biloela and Beenleigh abattoir (QLD) for processing12
  • Teys suffered cyclone damage to its Innisfail abattoir (QLD) in 2011. It was mothballed at the time but never reopened.12
  • Category C Emergency relief needs to be announced by Federal Government as soon as possible13
    • enables grants of $25,000 to eligible businesses and farms13
  • March. Cyclone damage to the two larger meat processors in Rockhampton will see JBS Rockhampton closed for at least a month and Teys Australia Rockhampton (Lakes Creek) QLD closed for atleast another week14
  • Seasonal stock work was complicating the matter with normal turnoff14
    • Producers having to send stock to other plants will incure greater freight costs14
    • Earliest stock were able to be slaughtered at Biloela was in April.14
  • Damage to the meat processing facilities renews debate of introduction of live export in the region14
    • Authors note – I think this in reference to using Port Alma (Rockhampton) to export live animals14
    • “We need diversity in any business and live export is part of that” Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith14
  • Teys Australia submission in regards to Australian workplace relations system15
  • September. Biloela plant is recognised at National level at Australian Migration and Settlement Awards – winning Business Inclusion award16
    • Foreign labour represents 70% of the plants 470 strong workforce16
    • Enabled operating capacity 100% since 200516
    • Biloela plant rates in the top 10% of the national industry16
      • due to newly skilled workforce16
      • Had to attract people to the town with a strategy as there weren’t many unemployed16
    • “The fact they could get a job and they were self-sufficent and they were contributing was the big reward” Duncan Downie – General manager of operations at Biloela16
  • November.Plant shuts down for two days in week due to lack of cattle17
    • Did not operate 02/11/2015 & 09/11/201517
    • Gone through an extended dry period17
      • Producers are holding onto cattle17
      • Cattle herd deminishing for 4-5 years due to drought17
      • When it does rain, shortage of cattle supply17
        • Don’t have the numbers to process at the facility17
    • Aim to operate 2 shifts 5 days a week, killing 710 head a day17
      • cut back operations due to shortage of cattle17
      • When graziers rebuild (if it rains) processing numbers will at normal targets17
      • Live export competition was having an impact but was not the major contributing factor17
      • “I don’t know what impact the live export trade will have. It is a long way to bring the ships down to Port Alma and the cattle they get in this areaare different to the cattle they get up north” D Downie.17
    • Plant normally sources cattle within 350km of the facility17
      • recently has had to purchase from Victoria, Longreach, Charters Towers and further north.17
  • Investment to occur at Biloela plant $10M over the next 6 months17
    • Work will begin in annual shutdown period17
      • Annual preventative maintenance program17
      • $2.7M upgrade boning room17
      • Installation of new vacuum pack machine and conveyor system17
      • In January plans to install new coal-fired boiler17
    • Seasonal closure is planned to begin 10/12/201517
  • Plant will conduct last kill 26/11/201518
    • final boning shift will happen 27/11/201518
    • Staff told 11/11/201518
    • Extended 7 week summer-season for the plant18
      • Normal schedule is 4 weeks18
        • Staff usually take 4 weeks of annual leave19
        • extra 3 weeks will be leave without pay19
      • Original target was to close 10/12/2015, reopen 08/01/201618
    • Cattle supply circumstances have dramatically changed18
      • shortage of cattle18
        • sustained records of slaughter across Eastern Australia18
          • Destocking from Western Areas19
          • high prices for cattle19
        • record live exports of cattle18
        • National herd level was on a 35 year high, to a 20 year low over the last 2 years.18
    • “This is a once-in-a-generation decline, but unfortunately  we can expect herd numbers to stay significantly low for at least the next two years as cattle producers rebuild their stock” Tom Maguire22
    • Biloela is a specialist grassfed plant, processing 700 head a day on single shift, employing 440 staff18
    • Intend to re-open 18/01/201618
    • Previous year (2014) had killed close to christmas18

ABC rural 12.11.2015._edited-1

Biloela meat processing complex. Source ABC Rural 12.11.2015

  • Early and extended shut down of the abattoirs due to lack of supply of cattle is affecting local butchers21
    • 2014 300g steak $7-$8 retail21
    • Now $9.6021
      • pricing is affecting the consumers ability and desire to pay for the product21
  • Early closure of Biloela would affect every little butcher across QLD21
    • Main problem is the drought21
    • Problem will continue when processors come back on line due to wholesalers buying aswel21
  • Agforce president Leo Neill Ballantine21
    • cattle shortage was a problem that wasn’t going to go away21
    • regardless of rain, will always be problesm with existing conditions21
      • vacuums are created in the market if producers can’t get assurances from processors21
      • producers need to be brought more into the supply chain21
        • enables cattle to be ready ahead of time21

Sources – #399 Biloela – Teys Australia (QLD)

  1. AUS-MEAT accreditation list 14.01.13
  2. ‘Abattoirs under stress’ Beef Central 22.02.13
  3. Competition and Exit in Meat Processing Agribusiness Review Vol 7 1999
  4. ‘Union Avoidance Strategies in the meat processing/packing industry in Australia and the USA compared’ A Jerrard & P O’Leary
  5. ‘Aussie workers safe in Teys cuts’ Central Telegraph 11.12.09
  6. ‘Meatworks jobs may get the chop’ The Morning Bulletin 11.12.2009
  7. ACCC will not oppose Teys Bros & Cargill Beef Australia proposed merger’ 06.07.2011
  8. ‘Processors raise hackles over ‘foreign labour’ claim’ Beef Central 21.07.2011
  9. Statement by member Ken O’Dowd. Parliament
  10. ‘Workers safe at Rockhampton and Biloela’s abattoirs’ The Morning Bulletin 14.07.2013
  11. ‘Cattle export deal with China raises fears for abattoir workers’ jobs’ Couriermail 07.11.2014
  12. ‘Power outages, structural damage from cyclone….’Beef Central 23.02.2015
  13. ‘CQ meatworks back in action’ QLD country Life 26.02.2015
  14. ‘Shutdown highlights market concerns’ 02.03.2015
  15. Teys submission to Australian Productivity commission into workplace relations system. March 2015
  16. ‘Refugees save Meatworks’ Central Telegraph 04.09.2015
  17. ‘Teys Bros invest $10M in to Biloela plant’ Central Telegraph 09.11.2015
  18. ‘Teys Biloela joins list of ‘extended shutdown’ beef plants, as herd contraction bites hard’ Beef Central 11.11.2015
  19. ‘Teys abattoir shuts early due to lack of supply’ ABC Rural 12.11.2015
  20. ‘Cattle shortage forces extended closure at Teys Biloela’ The Morning Bulletin 12.11.2015
  21. ‘QLD’s rib eye price is sky high says butcher’ Observer 17.11.2015
  22. ‘Cattle shortage hits Teys’ 18.11.2015
  23. ‘Cattle supply chokes’ ABC Rural 14.07.2011
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