Tag Archives: Queensland abattoirs

Killarney #22Q. QLD

Current Operation

  • Closed 08/02/2010.    

Location     

  • Killarney is located in the far southern region of South East Queensland within 5km of the QLD / NSW border.
    • Located Brosnan Road, Killarney, 2 hours drive from Brisbane CBD43
  • Killarney’s major closest small town is Warwick, population of approximately 15,500 people1.
    • Warwick is located 30km Northwest of Killarney
  • Killarney’s major larger towns are Toowoomba 100km north and Brisbane 130km to the North East1.

Australia. Killarney 06.04.2017

Killarney. QLD. 06.04.2017

Location relative to other abattoirs across Australia

abattoirs_edited-1  Location of Australian Abattoirs

How this map works.
This is a google engine layered map. At the moment it consists of 7 layers. By clicking on the box on the right hand side of the layers names it will illustrate the location of the abattoirs.

This is a work in progress and is not a complete list of all abattoirs that have operated in Australia or are currently operating.
Locations are approximate and are in relation to the closest town to which they are addressed.

The same abattoir site may appear in two different lists.

Use this link to access the Google map Australian Abattoirs locations.

 Location of Australian Abattoirs      

Owner

  • Hancock Family. 1976 – 20088
    • Roly Hancock8.
      • sons of Roly, Rohan, Hector and Tony8

 Operation

grant thronton receivers.

  • Aus-meat Accredited Establishment list at July 199764
    •  as a domestic abattoir. Accreditation number #0022Q
    • Operated as Killarney abattoir
      • Processing Beef, sheep and pigs
  • Aus-meat Accredited Establishment list as at 18/07/200868
    • as a domestic abattoir. Accreditation number #0022Q
    • Operating trading name – KA Operations Pty Ltd
    • Processing beef, sheep and pigs
    • Rating – A
  • Aus-meat Accredited Establishment list as at 18/03/201065

 History

1976

  • January 17. Killarney abattoir begins operation under Roly Hancock8
    • Staff of 15 men8

2000

  • Facility is taking a break only over 3 public day holidays of Christmas period2

2004

  • December. Plant rolls back working hours from 38 hours per week to 30 hours per week4
    • Seasonal shortage of stock is the main reason4
      • drought breaking rains  in the region
      • lowest level of sheep numbers in Australia this decade
      • Australian dollar peaked at record highs
    • Production is usually offset by higher returns for by products such as hides, tallow and meat meal4
      • High dollar exchange has made exports actually worth less
    • a lift in the Australian dollar will hopefully lead to a short reduction in working time4

2006

  • January. Warwick town shire is considering tighter water constrictions if levels in reserve drop too low5
    • Killarney abattoir bores have not been considered in any proposals at this time
  • Feedlot application for 999 standard cattle unit capacity (SCU) located North branch road at Warwick is refused by council6.
    • Objections had been citing concerns of odour, water supply and conflict with rural residential character of the district6.
    • New application is made for 499 SCU6.
  • Feedlot application for 999 SCU at Loch Lomond (10km west of Killarney) is approved by council7.
    • No objections are made against the proposal7.
  • August. MLA conduct a research project to look at the collection of carcase weight and information to utilise for computerisation and ability to relay information to the producer, processer and wholesaler67.
    • system must be compliant to export standards.

Analysis of Information flows and implementation of an e-business solution for Killarney abattoir. Project P.PIP.OO79. D. Bowler. August 2006

MLA report 2006. Pg 11

Source. MLA report P.PIP 0079. Inside the boning room. Pg 11

2007

  • January. Feedlot application for 1,700 SCU located at Loch Lomond  is sought to be built on the property ‘Belvedere’6.
    • 1km from the previous proposal approved in late 20067.
    • ‘Belvedere’ 440 ha property purchased by Gold Coast based company ‘ Professional Investment Cattle’6.
      • subsidiary of ‘Professional Investment Holdings’6.
        • Licensed dealer in securities with $12.5B under management6.
    • Feedlot would turn off 170 cattle after feeding for 70- day period, to be processed at Killarney abattoir6.
      • represent a 15% increase in cattle processing6.
        • “Help to ensure economic future” Killarney CEO Hector Hancock6.
    • Road works upgrades would be required to accommodate semi-trailer turning movements6.
    • Protests are held against the proposal citing smell, devalued properties, noise, building restrictions, dust and Condomine river pollution7.
      • Area was a hub for life-stylers and retirees7.

2008

  • January 21. Announcement is made of sale of Killarney abattoir to Dudley Leitch8
    • Killarney abattoir sold for $5.1M 62
    • Dudley Leitch already owns another abattoir facility at Pittsworth8
      • 5km South west of Toowoomba
    • General manager of operations – Hector Hancock (of previous ownership)8
  • Sale of abattoir occurred in conjunction with a separate purchase of Condomine River meats8
    • Included property ‘Berrima’ and feedlot of 5,000 head capacity8
  • Sale of abattoir was never advertised. Roly Hancock wished to take a backwards step from the operations8.

Map proximity to Pittsworth 06.04.2017

Source. Hema Maps. Showing Proximity of Pittsworth abattoir south west of Toowoomba to Killarney abattoir near NSW QLD border. approximately 120km apart.

  • Dudley Leitch came into business success with gold discoveries in Victoria, listing ‘Perseverance Company on the Australian stock exchange in 19878.
    • shares rocketed from 25c to $13 in 4 months8.
  • Abattoir will capitalise on 2 of its by -products that have doubled in value recently8
    • Tallow, base for soaps and cosmetics, bio-diesel source8
      • $300 / tonne to $1,000 / tonne8
    • Meat-meal, replacing grain in diets for pigs and chooks8
      • doubled price in last 3 years8
  • Machinery will be installed to ensure the retention of more tallow8
  • Abattoir currently employs 179 people8
  • Abattoir capacity has the ability to process daily8
    • 400 cattle
    • 100 pigs
    • 1,100 sheep and lambs
  • “Half of the staff I’m related to and the other half I grew up with, We didn’t want to sell to just anyone but we feel Dudley is genuine, caring and recognises the value of our workers and we are confident he will look after our family at the abattoir” Hector Hancock8
  • June. 2008 season has been very wet in most parts of QLD causing stand-downs and in most places, the plants starting dates were delayed3
  • New owners will continue to work on working agreements and work with union3
  • Expectation that a new Enterprise agreement will be negotiated towards the end of 20083
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (as at 30/06/2008) estimate Australia’s sheep flock is down 10% (fallen by 8.78M)51
    • Lowest Australian sheep flock since 191651
    • QLD record a lowering of 3.96M head51

2009

  • June. Warwick saleyards receives a record high price of $84.50 for butchers merino’s51
    • sold to Killarney abattoir51
    • competition for some sheep came from Fletchers International (Dubbo)51
  • Currently very positive for sheep producers due to 51
    • sheep prices increasing51
    • low stock numbers 51
    • concern for future over supply by wool growers51
      • meat processors anticipated shortfall in sheep availability during winter months51
  • July. During the last 12 months 70%, 140 employees have undertaken some form of on-the-job training9.
    • All levels of the workers from managers to newly -recruited school leavers9.
    • Aim was improve training opportunities and have skills formerly recognised9.
    • Technology advances and OHS has placed increased pressure on people to undertake formal training9.
  • Leitch Pastoral Group owned meatworks employ 190 locals9.
    • including 50 casual staff9.
  • It is claimed 42 employees lost their jobs at the Killarney and Pittsworth plants22
  • Dudley Leitch is ranked in QLD top 100 rich list53.
    • #80 $109M53.
  • September. Dudley Leitch believes he has discovered potential to revolutionise the meat processing industry10.
    • Transforming animal by-products into organic fertiliser10.
    • Intends to develop the organic fertiliser and test it extensively on their own properties10.
    • Using methods on the properties to stop degradation of farming land10.
  • Organic product will put carbon back into the soil with high phosphorous10.
    • Utilises natural products that make the soil super-absorbent with combined with nitrogen and phosphorous10.
  • Commercialisation of the product will incorporate intention to float a public company in 201010.
  • Leitch group currently own 52,600 ha in the region10.
    • intensively grazing10.
      • 100,000 meat ewes
      • 3,000 nanny goats
  • Temporary job losses occur for a month as facility is shifted from mutton to young cattle and prime lambs10.
    • 10-12 people will be laid off10.
      • Offered positions on other properties of the company10.
  • Killarney markets are mainly into Sydney where there is heavy competition with exporters10.
  • Local markets will now be the focus10.
    • bone more lamb and young beef10.
      • output will be a higher quality product10.
  • Pittsworth facility has undergone recent $6M renovations10.
    • New rendering plant that cost $4M10.
  • New rendering plant is being considered for Killarney10.
    • Current process takes 12 hours10.
      • new facility would take 45 minutes10.
        • Tallow quality is better10.
  •  Editorial article in Warwick Daily applauds the long-term business investment in the region of operators such as Dudley Leitch11.
    • Other regions of QLD are reliant on the mining boom11
    • Areas of agriculture require  long-term investment11
  • October. Shortage of suitable cattle for slaughter is causing loss of production at the facility12
    • John Dee (Oakey QLD) is similarly affected, missed 1 production day12
  • Contributing factors causing supply problems12
    • Seasonal conditions12
      • Stock are not finished as well12
    • Rising Australian dollar12
      • Places pressure on price causing some plants to offload product into the domestic markets12
  • Leitch Pastoral Operations manager – Rob Doro12
  • Cattle markets had tightened recently making it difficult to source livestock12
  • Killarney is committed to operating full kill 5 days per week, throughout the year12
  • Wallangarra (NSW) is temporarily closed due to a shortage of sheep13
    • Facility was planning to modify its plant to equip as a beef chain but this would take 9 months to complete13
  • December. Rumours are quashed by Dudley Leitch that the Killarney abattoir is in financial trouble14
  • Recent restructuring at the abattoir had cost 18 people their jobs14
  • Forward contracts had been introduced14
  • Negotiations are ongoing with the unions14
    • Enterprise agreement for Pittsworth abattoir and Condamine river meats.14
    • New enterprise agreement for Killarney would occur in early 201014
  • Renovation of the waste-water ponds was occuring14
  • Development talks were occurring in regards to the compost material14.
  • Clearing sale of some machinery items were to be sold on December 19 owned by Dudley Leitch14
    • 20 properties had been purchased in the last 3-4 years and a large volume of old machinery had accumulated14
  • Rumours had been concerned with how well the Killarney abattoir was running
    • Annual Christmas party had failed to occur14
    • Rumours had surfaced that Killarney production was slowing to concentrate on Pittsworth plant14
  • Loss of Killarney as an employer would be devastating for the town14
  • Hancock family have officially severed all ties with the Killarney plant14
    • Split had been amicable14.

2010

  • February 8. 240 workers are stood down from Killarney and Pittsworth abattoirs15
  • Both meatworks would have suspended operations15
    • including wholesale and feedlot arm Condamine River meats15
  • Management say abattoir is not closed and they have not sacked anyone15
  • Stand down was a result of current economic climate15
    • competitive marketplace a factor16
  • “The meat industry is a difficult environment at the best of times and this has been a particularly tough period” Rob Doro. Leitch Pastoral Group operations manager.15
  • Announcement of stand down comes only 2 months of assurances the abattoir wasn’t in financial trouble.15
  • Further announcement is expected to occur 12/02/201016
    • Management were confident of the plant re-opening, staff were not16.
  • Pittsworth residents said closure of the Pittsworth abattoir would be a massive blow to the community17.
    • Pittsworth currently employed 110 people17.
  •  Killarney currently employ 130 workers18.
  • Condamine River meats, uncertain of number of employees stood down18.
  • Meatworks would continue to operate with skeleton staff18.
  • Leitch Pastoral group would ensure employees were paid entitlements18.
  • Outstanding debts to Leitch pastoral were being actively pursued to meet creditor obligations18.
  • Killarney had been the regions largest employer for 30 years18.
  • Yangan abattoir was receiving enquiry from wholesale and retail butchers desperate to secure kill space in wake of the Killarney closure18.
    • Yangan didn’t have the infrastructure to process more stock18.
      • currently at 70% kill capacity18.
        • To increase capacity use would require significant increase in the workforce18.
  • February 12. confidence increases for the meatworks re-opening due to the fact 800 sheep are in the abattoir yards19
    • Management say the stock have been in the yards since the initial shutdown19
      • Stock have been on feed and water for the duration19
  • Announcement is made that the closure of the Killarney and Pittsworth abattoirs will continue in-definitely20
  • Dudley Leitch is confident the plant will re-open20
  • Grant Thornton, Brisbane based management consultants are hired to begin a debt collection program20
    • Expected to accelerate recouping of debt owed
  • Government provide assistance packages and support to employees of the facilities21
    • Jobs Assist program to assist employees to look for other positions21
    • Working with the unions to provide accelerated Centrelink entitlements
  • An independent government review identifies solutions that will keep the business afloat21
    • Company may or may decide to accept the proposals21.
  • Annual turnover of the 2 plants is in excess of $80M22
    • Businesses have a substantial amount owing from debtors22
  • Workers are angry and in disbelief at the recent announcements22
    • Claim the owners misled them22
  • Some producers are owed money by the abattoirs for livestock sold as well as for wages owed22
  • Government had been providing  assistance for some time to the abattoirs through the ‘Job assist program’22
  • February 16. AMIEU call for urgent meeting with management to provide definite dates and certainty to workers regarding work and entitlements23
    • Staff are not yet legally redundant, therefore are effectively still employed by the facility23
    • Workers are unable to claim concessions if they are not made redundant
    • Centrelink unemployment entitlement may allow $400 / fortnight payment23
      • Wages were nearer $1200 a week23.
  • February 19. 4 Workers accuse Leitch Pastoral Group have failed to make superannuation payments to employees accounts since June 200924
  • Payroll anomalies are being investigated by Grant Thornton management consultants24
    • Some employees are also owed holiday pay24
  • Employees have contacted superannuation funds, who then referred to Australian taxation office to begin an investigation into the workers entitlements24.

GT 2nd report. pg 25

Source gtal 2010 ka operations report released 01/04/2010
Showing final figures of monies owed for employee entitlements by KA operations.

  • Wallangarra (NSW) plant is sold to South Australian company25
    • workers at Wallangarra are assure their jobs are secure25
    • Wallangarra has been accessing some stock that normally would have been processed at Killarney and selling product into areas traditionally sold to also by Killarney25
  • Current sheep prices are very high25
    • due to low flock numbers nationally25
  • Gympie meatworks – Nolan Meats business was operating as normal52
    • highest throughput of cattle, processing 400 head a day52
  • March 3. Leitch Pastoral Group is placed into voluntary administration26
  • Dudley Leitch assures those affected by the Killarney abattoir the facility would be re-opened once debts had been collected from suppliers26
  • Several parties have shown interest in creating an alliance to keep the facility in operation26
  • Leitch Pastoral Group is now under the control of Michael McCann from the Grant Thornton accounting firm27
  • Operations at the Killarney and Pittsworth abattoirs would remain suspended
    • Likely the facilities will be placed for sale27
  • Westpac bank announce a relief package to assist customers who are employees of Leitch pastoral company affected by the closure of the abattoirs28
    • Home loans may defer payments for 3 months28
    • Existing business loans can request loan restructure without usual bank fees applicable28
    • Credit card customers can request emergency credit limit rises28
    • Personal loan customers can apply to refinance at a discounted fixed interest rate28
    • Westpac will waive interest penalties for early drawing of term deposits28
    • Free consultations with financial planners28
  • March 5. Alleged theft occurs of $31,000 worth of equipment from Leitch Pastoral Group properties in the last fortnight29
    • Killarney abattoir had a mig welder and maintenance equipment29
    • Elbow valley Property lost a spray unit29
  • Dudley Leitch is confident abattoirs will re-open30
    • Not necessarily under Leitch Pastoral Group30
    • Both plants are only 2 multi species abattoirs of significant size in the region30
  • Reason for failure of the abattoirs30
    • Outstanding payments to Condamine river meats30
    • Failed bid to unite various wholesale groups under one banner30
      • “The main problem we were having out there firstly the wholesale people not selling the meat at the right price and not making money” Dudley Leitch30
      • Lack of salesmen pushing the product and lack of ability to collect debts
    • Dudley Leitch would step back from meat operations of the Leitch Pastoral Group though he would continue to run the farming  entities30
      • Dudley Leitch insisting the farming entities were separate to the processing30
      • A number of Leitch properties were already on the market for sale
  • Core staff and basic maintenance crew remain at the plant enabling it to be re-opened if required30.
  • Leitch Pastoral Group owe in excess $7M to over 200 claimants31
    • Warwick Livestock agents31
      • Stock and Station agents across Darling Downs are owed more than $900,00031
    • cattle producers31
      • Coomith Cattle Company $170,00034
      • Un-named producers supplied stock worth $22,000 for slaughter of 31 head in November35
        • Had suspected problems with Killarney and had begun to grow heavier cattle and sell to another abattoir at Oakey prior to the end of 200935
          • Increased freight cost of $16-$20 per head35
        • Producers weren’t suppling stock to Killarney because the facility wasn’t making timely payments for them35
          • Producers had to chase abattoir for payment35
    • Superannuation funds $307,500, with over $265,000 to one fund alone31
      • Employees have received additional information from Grant Thornton but may have to wait 8-10 months before payment31
      • $3,000 garnered from employees wages for child support agencies was not forwarded to the agencies31
      • Employees are receiving formal notice of their termination of employment31
    • Government bodies31
      • WorkCover QLD $584,00031
      • Governments Levies Revenue Service $78,00031
  • Dudley Leitch himself is listed as a creditor – owed $2.25M31
    • Dudley Leitch supplied stock from his own properties to the Killarney abattoir when the facility was struggling to source stock35
    • $946,000 is owed internally between the 3 entities of the Lietch Pastoral Group31
    • Dudley Leitch had personally rung people to assure they would receive their money31
  • Full liabilities is still unknown as they don’t include former employees or financiers31
  • Suppliers feel Dudley Leitch should not be listed as a creditor31
    • Now like all failed businessmen he is finding blame with everyone but himself” – suppliers31
  • Creditor documents cast doubt on whether those owed money would see much32
    • Creditors view that voluntary administration absolves the groups owner of any responsibility to pay his debts32
    • Dudley gets to keep his assets because the voluntary administration only relates to the 3 other entities32
  • Employees rank as a priority ahead of claims by ordinary unsecured creditors and ahead of secured creditor31
    • 2nd – Rural Bank31
  • Accounting firm Grant Thornton to receive $225,000 for resolving the crisis31
    • $485 hourly rate31
    • Suppliers were cynical of administrators being able to guarantee their payment but not payment to other creditors31
  • Dudley Leitch quits as Director of Kings Minerals due to personal reasons32
    • Walks away with share portfolio of $5.7M32
    • Not uncommon for company directors to resign from other positions if certain their interests could be subject to intervention32
  • March 10. A proposal by the Leitch Pastoral Group to resurrect the Killarney abattoir as a co-operative with financiers Rural Bank is put forward33
    • Rob Doro resigned as Leitch Pastoral Group operations manager but allowed him to put proposal forward33
      • May allow creditors to recover money 33
      • Killarney to retain a major employer33
    • Would require Dudley Leitch and Rural Bank to forgo the assets of both Killarney and Pittsworth plants and roll them into a new entity33
      • Abattoirs would have an accountable board with independent and professional directors33
      • Require government support in the form of start up capital
        • Interest reduced loans33
  • Co-operative idea is labelled as “unrealistic, Cinderella solution” to the “only hope” for those owed monies34
    • Those owed money could translate their debt into shares34
    • Financial data was viewed that the abattoirs could be viable under a tightly controlled management regime34
  • Creditors and suppliers were wary of proposal but considered it may be a real option34
  • preference to see State Government take action to ensure corporations were not allowed to protect assets behind trading companies34
  • Views34
    • Co-operative concept had merit if close attention was paid to developing a sensible business model to ensure sustainable volume and pricing34
    • Bank wouldn’t for-go assets in the interest of a few trade creditors34
      • Lietch had always structured the business to protect assets
    • If the meatworks are actually viable why had Grant Thornton not recommended trading out of the situation34
  • March 12. Creditors meeting is held at Grant Thornton offices in Brisbane35
    • Grant Thornton indicate that unsecured creditors would not receive any money35
  • Further meetings are held with government organisations to consider the co-operative proposal35
  • Employees will receive monies owed in 90 days36
    • $1.6M in entitlements36
      • $1.3M is expected from debtors36
    • Federal Government General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme will top up any outstanding amounts36
  • Southern Downs Regional council developed a 70 ML off-stream storage facility last year with the understanding it was critical to the Killarney abattoir37
    • Ratepayers may be forced to pick up the $1.1M cost of the facility37
    • Killarney abattoir had been expected to use 50% and be the main contributor to the cost recovery37.
  • April 1. Report to creditors is released by Grant Thornton.

gtal_2010_ka_operations_pty_ltd_second-report_to_creditors

GT 2nd report pg 2.

Source gtal 2010 ka operations. Recommendations of action Pg 2

  • Reasons for failure of the business as cited on page 6 of gtal report.
GT 2nd report. pg 13

Source gtal 2010 ka operations. Reasons for failure. Pg 6

GT 2nd report pg 7.

Source gtal 2010 ka operations. Insolvent trading Pg 7

 

 

GT 2nd report. pg 8

Source gtal 2010 ka operations. Return to creditors Pg 8

 

GT 2nd report. pg 16

Source gtal 2010 ka operations. Profit and Loss Pg 16.
All accounts are un-audited and showing a trading loss of $1.27M at 28/02/2010

GT 2nd report pg 13.

Source gtal 2010 ka operations. Statement of Position Pg 22
Statement of Position showing debt to Rural bank of $32M

  • April 14. Lietch Pastoral Group meat entities are placed in formal liquidation38
  • Both meatworks. Killarney and Pittsworth are listed for sale by tender38
  • Dudley Leitch also lists a farming property owned in the Killarney area is listed for sale38
    • Employees are resentful of the fact Dudley Leitch owns property in the area but isn’t forced to sell the land or personal home while employees had to wait until legal notice of formal liquidation to receive their access to funds and still wait 90 days for payment39

Leitch proprety groups. Mercury 31.10.2014

Source Mercury ‘Last of Leitch properties…’ 31/10/2014

Listing of properties held within the Leitch Pastoral Group portfolio

  • 3 of the 27 Trainees employed at Killarney have found work at other sites39
    • Yangan abattoir employed 2 fitter and turners to enable them to finish training39
    • Most would be forced to forget training and take work elsewhere where ever they could39
  • Big W distribution centre employed 20 former meatworks staff39
  • Oakey abattoir (John Dees) employed 10 former Killarney workers39
  • Some Killarney workers were able to relocate to find work at other centres39
  • May 21st. Formal tenders for the 2 abattoirs close at 5pm40.
    • Facilities were being offered as 2 separate entities40
  • Dudley Leitch rural enterprises are struggling operating on skeleton staff40.
    • Management team now consist of Dudley, his daughter and a lawyer40.
  • Business review had been conducted for Government by Grant Thornton for Jobs Assistance Intensive program41
    • Independent business review of Killarney abattoir
      • Authors Note – Date is not mentioned of when the review was actually conducted.
    • Report undertaking cost $88,771.9641
    • Report didn’t indicate Leitch Pastoral Group was insolvent.41
  • June. Pittsworth abattoir is under contract to overseas interests
    • Settlement to occur June 2842
      • Killing expected to begin within weeks of settlement42
  • Killarney operations has received interest from overseas and interstate buyers42
  • Dudley Leitch believes facilities could operate as service kill but not as wholesale operations42
    • Killarney may have the potential to export42
    • Made error in not bringing arms of Pittsworth and Killarney meat wholesale arms together – effectively they were in competition with each other42
    • Leitch groups still has a considerable debt42
    • Clean up work was being carried out at the Killarney site42.
  • August. Pittsworth abattoir re-opens under new ownership48
    • Pittsworth closes permanently April 8 201148
  • Dudley Leitch is included in QLD Top 100 List53.
    • Estimated worth of $81M ranked 9453.
      • 2009 ranking had been #80 at $109M53.
    • Dudley Leitch claims ‘net personal financial wealth’ is impossible to assess53.
      • His family are heavily burdened by debt53.
  • Creditors who are owed money by the Leitch groups are taking on extra overdraft to pay bills53.
  • December. Colliers International real estate sale agents list Killarney abattoir for sale43.
    • Property consisting of 32ha grazing land43
  • Dudley and Karen Leitch hold an online auction of 7,000 Dorper and Damara sheep from traprock country west of Warwick44
    • Karen Leitch is also selling a high-class artworks store as a closing down sale44
      • Artes de Mexico specialises in unique forms of handmade ceramics44
    • Dudley Leitch continues to run 60,000 head breeding sheep flock on his traprock country areas44.
    • Sale is not confirmed to meet requirements of creditors but for 16 workers on the properties44
  • Dudley Leitch vows to re-open his beef cattle feedlots at Millermerran and Cullendore within the next few months44
  • Court action is on-going against the Killarney and Pittsworth abattoirs 44
    • Killarney co-op lodged March 201044
      • Undisclosed amount was agreed on and would be paid44
    • Coomith Cattle Company of Meandarra, Perrett Cattle company of Injune (owed $61,000) and the Amber Downs Feedlot at Wandoan lodged May 3144
  • Overseas investor inspects the Killarney abattoir44
    • Local (NSW and QLD) has shown some interest in the facility45
  • Colliers International selling agents are confident Killarney abattoir will be sold46
    • 7 groups of people have inspected the facility46
      • A shortlist of the offers will now be done46
      • Some are looking to re-open the facility others to lease the property46

2011

  • February. 2 potential buyers are in talks with the sales agent47
    • Hopeful a result may have occurred mid January but local flooding had caused delays47
  • April. Pittsworth abattoir permanently closes48
  • Freestone Feedlot, 2,000 head capacity located north of Warwick remains under external administration54.
    • Feedlot stock numbers were down due to high cattle prices54.
    • Feedlot had service killed at Killarney54.
      • Carcases were processed at their own meat processing facility at Molendinar (QLD Gold Coast)54.
  • May. Equipment is removed from the site48
    • Rumours the facility will not re-open48
    • Scrap metal merchant was removing materials and gear48
  • Equipment from Killarney  is used to refurbish Forbes #656 NSW 69.
  • Previous offers and negotiations had fallen through48.
    • Rumours $1.3M had been rejected in the hope of achieving a $2M sale48.
  • Dudley Leitch and his wife are subject to supreme court action by the ATO49.
    • $600,000 in unpaid taxes49
      • Tax debt under the Leitch family trust49
    • Family home in Brisbane was auctioned in the last week selling for $696,00049
      •  Leitch’s plan to move to one of their livestock properties49
    • Leitch’s sell 102ha Beaudesert property $1.33M49
  • November. Dudley & Karen Leitch are formerly declared bankrupt50
  • Tenants on former Leitch properties are ordered to vacate the properties by the end of January 201250
  • Cattle suppliers who took Leitch to court have not received any payment of monies and expect legal costs to have doubled their losses.50
  • ATO launch a second legal case for further unpaid taxes and Superannuation Guarantee charges $998,589.07 plus interest and court costs50
  • December. Killarney abattoir remains in the hands of the creditors50
    • site is gradually being dismantled with numerous sheds and workshops already gone50

2012

  • June. Belvedere (Owned by Leitch Pastoral Group) is passed in at auction $1.7M55.
  • August. Killarney abattoir site (now stripped of some sheds and most equipment) is sold to Chris Shaw $167,00062
  • October. Rumours Killarney abattoir will be converted to a pig processing facility56
  • Swickers at Kingaroy is currently processing 2,000 pigs a day56

2013

  • February. Memorandum of understanding is announced to re-open Killarney abattoir57
    • Northern Co-Operative Meat Company (Casino NSW) and Killarney based business identity Chris Shaw of Canning Downs58
      • Co-op currently run pig plant at Booyong (Lismore)58
    • Abattoir (formerly beef and sheep) would need to be completely rebuilt and refurbished58
      • Initial phase will be a feasibility study58
      • Chris Shaw had been interested in buying the Killarney site and building a pig abattoir himself.58
      • A new pig facility would directly compete with Casino, Northern Co-op wanted to have some control of negotiations58
        • better enable Casino protection for its business and staff58
        • Killarney would have saved many producers transport costs58
  • Livestock producers who received payment of livestock prior to the Leitch groups being placed under administration will be forced to repay money as they should not have received preferential treatment to unsecured creditors59
    • First call on assets is owed to ATO59
      • 2nd secured creditors – Rural bank59
        • 3rd company employees59
          • owed approximately $1.5M60
    • Return of payment of money will place undue stress on suppliers who provided stock under contract and in good faith of payment59
    • Some were considering a joined legal action to keep the money59
  • Law: Corporations Act60
    • By Law, to recover an unfair preference, the liquidator must show that the transaction occurred at a time when the company was insolvent, that the transaction gave the creditor an advantage over other creditors(preferential treatment) and that the creditor suspected or should have suspected that the company was insolvent.60
  • October. Dudley Leitch is working as a part time consultant for a Chinese company mining copper61.
  • Dudley Leitch and his wife are still listed as owners of several properties at Gore, Stonehenge, Springdale and Terrica61
  • At this time creditors owed from the collapse of Killarney, Pittsworth and Condomine River meats have not been paid61
    • Neither has the ATO61
  • Some suppliers who were asked to return payments have to avoid court costs61

2014

  • March. Grant Thornton as liquidators role will end61.
  • Expectation winding up process of the collapsed Leitch groups to be formally finalised62
    • unlikely that local firms and suppliers will receive any monies owed62
  • Re-development of the Killarney site as a pig processing facility could take up to 2 years62
    • Chris Shaw has withdrawn from the project62
      • Owns the Killarney site62.
    • Northern Co-op was proceeding with due-diligence62
  • October. Leitch properties Enisclare and Stonehenge sell prior to auction63
  • Last of the Leitch Pastoral group holdings will be auctioned63.
    • Bodumba will be sold 31/10/201463
      • Final of more than 17 properties63
        • Including 2 abattoirs63
      • Started buying in 2005 and 2006 continuing through the property price highs of 200863
      • Accumulated a rural portfolio of $30M63
  • Collapse of Leitch groups affected local property markets63
    • Prices back 30-40% from 200863

 Sources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warwick,_Queensland Accessed 06/04/2017
  2. www.cattlefacts.com.au Work Recess Dates 2000-2001
  3. AMIEU – Ian McLauchlan. 2008. – note link not working
  4. ‘Killarney abattoir staff face reduced work hours’ Warwick Daily News 10.12.2004
  5. ‘Outlook murky for Killarney’s water supply’ Warwick Daily News 12.01.2006
  6. ‘Loch Lomond feedlot plan is in’ Warwick Daily News 11.02.2007
  7. ‘Feedlot plan on the nose’ Warwick Daily News 22.02.2007
  8. ‘Meatly deal snaps up abattoir and feedlot’ Warwick Daily News 24.01.2008
  9. ‘Upskilling benefits both staff and bosses’ Warwick Daily News 10.07.2009
  10. ‘Abattoir plan a first: Leitch’ Warwick Daily News 22.09.2009
  11. ‘Long-term investment needed in the region’ Warwick Daily News. Editor. 22.09.2009
  12. ‘Cattle supply impacts on meatworks’ Warwick Daily News 13.10.2009
  13. ‘Abattoir closure kills 200 jobs’ Warwick Daily News 27.10.2009
  14. ‘Leitch disputes rumours’ Warwick Daily News 05.12.2009
  15. ‘Abattoir workers stood down’ Warwick Daily News 08.02.2010
  16. ‘230 abattoir workers stood down’ Warwick Daily News 09.02.2010
  17.  ‘Leitch Pastoral Group closes’ Warwick Daily 09.02.2010
  18. ‘Abattoir suspends workers’ Warwick Daily News 09.02.2010
  19. ‘Abattoir future to be known today’ Warwick Daily News 12.02.2010
  20. ‘Leitch vows to re-open abattoir’ Warwick Daily News 12.02.2010
  21. QLD Government Media release. Mr Andrew Fraser. 12.02.2010
  22. ‘Leitch extends plant shutdown’ Warwick Daily News 13.02.2010
  23. ‘Abattoir workers’ future uncertain’ Warwick Daily News 16.02.2010
  24. ‘Employees missing super’ Warwick Daily News 19.02.2010
  25. ‘Meatworkers told their job’s safe’ Warwick Daily News 02.03.2010
  26. ‘Abattoir owners confirm closure’ The Chronicle 03.03.2010
  27. ‘Abattoir entities in receivership’ Warwick Daily News 03.03.2010
  28. Westpac Bank Media release. 03.03.2010
  29. ‘Thieves make a hit on abattoir plant’ Warwick Daily News 05.03.2010
  30. ‘Abattoirs will reopen: Leitch’ Warwick Daily News 05.03.2010
  31. ‘Show us the money, Dudley’ Warwick Daily News 05.03.2010
  32. ‘Leitch resigns from top job’ Warwick Daily News 06.03.2010
  33. ‘Bold bid to keep abattoir running’ Warwick Daily News 10.03.2010
  34. ‘Plan to reinvent abattoirs’ Warwick Daily News 11.03.2010
  35. ‘Leitch faces creditors’ Warwick Daily News 12.03.2010
  36. ‘Better news for abattoir workers’ Warwick Daily News 12.03.2010
  37. ‘Abattoir leaves $1M water bill’ Warwick Daily News 31.03.2010
  38. ‘Leitch now in liquidation’ Warwick Daily News 14.04.2010
  39. ‘Workers doing it tough’ Warwick Daily News 15.04.2010
  40. ‘Killarney abattoir’s future unsure’ Warwick Daily News 20.05.2010
  41. Parliamentary questions on notice. #697 13.04.2010. Mr Springborg.
  42. ‘Killarney is still a goer: Leitch’ Warwick Daily News 02.06.2010
  43. ‘Colliers lists Killarney’s idle abattoir’ Stock Journal 09.12.2010
  44. ‘No movement on Killarney abattoir’ Warwick Daily News 10.06.2010
  45. ‘Locals register abattoir interest’ Warwick Daily News 14.12.2010
  46. ‘Abattoir set to sell’ Warwick Daily News 23.12.2010
  47. ‘Two groups interested in abattoir’ Warwick Daily News 24.02.2011
  48. ‘Killarney abattoir’s future vague’ Warwick Daily News
  49. ‘Tax office chasing down Leitch’s’ Warwick Daily News 26.05.2011
  50. ‘Millions to mud: Leitch bankrupt’ Daily Mercury. 17.12.2011
  51. ‘Sheep Producers smiling as meat price on the increase’ Warwick Daily News 02.06.2009.. Via www.questia.com
  52. ‘Local meat jobs safe, Industry is uncertain’ Warwick Daily News 24.02.2010
  53. ‘Living off the fat of the Lamb? Former abattoir owner Leitch rejects papers rich list tag’ Warwick Daily News 17.08.2010. via www.questia.com
  54. ‘Freestone Group still in Limbo..’ Warwick Daily News 05.04.2011. via www.questia.com
  55. ‘Belvedere QLD passed in for $1.7M’ www.farmonline.com.au 29.06.2012
  56. ‘Is pig abattoir sale tale a lot of pork pies?’ Warwick Daily News 10.10.2012. via www.questia.com
  57. ‘Abattoir plan is exciting’ Warwick Daily News. Editor comments 23.02.2013. via www.questia.com
  58. ‘Talks ramped up on new abattoir hopes riding on new venture…..’ Warwick Daily News 23.02.2013. via www.questia.com
  59. ‘Producers’ nightmare as big funs demand cash’ Warwick Daily News 28.02.2013
  60. ‘Liquidator looks into money owed’ Warwick Daily News 28.02.2013. via www.questia.com
  61. ‘Dudley Leitch back in mining biz’ Warwick Daily News 29.10.2013
  62. ‘Two-year plan with set-up of pig plant’ Warwick Daily News 01.04.2014
  63. ‘Last of Leitch properties to be offered up for auction’ Daily Mercury 31.10.2014
  64. Aus-Meat Accredited Establishment List July 1997
  65. Aus-Meat Acc Listing 18.03.10
  66. gtal_2010_ka_operations_pty_ltd_second-report_to_creditors
  67. PPIP0079-Final-Report
  68. Aus-Meat Accredited Establishment List 18/07/2008
  69. ‘Three meat processing plants hit the market….’ Beef Central 14.09.2016

Mackay

Mackay abattoir, owned by NH Foods trading as Thomas Borthwick and sons is a modern and currently operating facility. Organically accredited specialising in high quality grass fed beef.

Other Names

  • Thomas Borthwick
  • Borthwick’s meatworks
  • Nippon Mackay

Current Operation

  • Is currently in operation as at 2016.

Location

  • Mackay is located on the east coast of Queensland, Approximately 970km north of Brisbane, 334 km north of Rockhampton and 394km south of Townsville.
  • The Nippon Mackay abattoir is located at Bakers Creek approximately 10km south of Mackay.
    Aust. Mackay

Mackay

Owner

Operation

  • Mackay is certified for organic beef production.2
    • Specialising in high quality, chilled grass fed beef
    • Cattle are sourced from mainly Central QLD
    • Export markets include Japan, USA, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Russia, Europe, Taiwan, Mexico, Ukrain and Indonesia.13
  • Nippon currently own 3 abattoirs in Australia,

Other Abattoirs in the region

Pentland (QLD)

Ross River abattoir (QLD)

Townsville – Stuart (QLD)

Australian abattoir locations

abattoirs_edited-1

To access this map go to Australian Abattoirs – Google map interactive

History of Mackay meat processing facility

1890’s

  • Recognition that the export trade of meat needs to be developed for the economic benefit of Australian producers (Pg 1041).1
    • Existing low values are due to fact that half to one third of surplus meat is exported.1
    • Should be exporting 250,000 to 300,000 carcases of beef.1
    • £1M pounds is required to construct meatworks.1
    • If not constructed £10M pounds could be added to existing capital of the banks and still their securities would be unprofitable(Pg 1042).1
  • Parliament develope “The Meat and Dairy Produce Encouragement Act”(Pg 1042).1
    • Levy imposed on both cattle and sheep.1
    • 2 funds .1
      1. Dairying herds
      2. Beef herds
    • Fund allows for establishment of meatworks at.1
      • Pinkenba
      • Bowen
      • Redbank
      • Cardwell
      • Broadsound
      • Gladstone
      • Brisbane
      • Charleville
      • Mackay
      • Biboohra (Mareeba)
      • Burketown and
      • Sellheim

1905

  • Mackay abattoir inception.56
  • Authors note – there is a significant discrepancy as to when this site was established.

1954

  • Beef Cattle in the district of Mackay totalled 268,809 head.15
  • Meeting is held to discuss possibility of establishment of an abattoir in Mackay.15
    • If constructed must allow for extension to cope with increase in cattle export.15
  • Mackay Local Abattoir board applied for £5,000 debenture loan to build the facility.15
    • Refused by 5 Insurance companies
    • Refused by 2 banks and
    • Public curator

1965

  • July. Mackay, Baker’s Creek works opens – Borthwicks.16

1980’s

  • The Australian beef trading/processing environment is worsening(Pg 119).5
    • QLD Cattle herd in 1975 was 14M head.5
      • QLD Cattle herd in 1987 is 9M.5
    • There is low utilisation rates through meatworks and the need to reduce the number the meatworks is seen to improve efficency and reduce operational costs (Pg 120).5

1983

  • Federal Industries Assistance Commission produce a report that reveals the Australian meat processing industry has 38% excess capacity (Pg 126).7

1986 

  • April. Joint Venture Proposal is begun to amalgamate.7
    • FJ Walkers (Owned by Elders IXL)
      • Already own 10 abattoirs, including 4 key export works and meat packing plants in Australia (Pg 119).5
    • Metro Meat Industries
    • Smorgon Consolidated Industries
    • Tancred Bros
    • Thomas Borthwick & Sons
      • Borthwicks to add their plants of  Mackay and Bowen (QLD).7
  • Wide spread concern of potential domination of the QLD beef market by the merger entity (Pg 127).7
  • May. Trade Practices Commission (TPC) holds a investigation.7
  • June. TPC announce will not place legal impediment to the merger.7
  • July. Borthwicks  withdraw from talks(pg 120).5
    • Borthwicks had operation problems of it’s own and wanted to sell all Australian assets including hides and skin processing not just jewels of Bowen and Mackay.5
    • Portland (Vic) would be particularly difficult to sell due to union unrest.5

1987

  • Is listed in Aus-Meat Accreditation List as Establisment #67.8
    • Borthwick. T & Sons Ltd.

1988 

  • January. Teys Brothers are in discussion with Borthwick to purchase Borthwick Australian assets and a Japanese branch of the company (Pg 121).5
  • Teys had been in a joint venture with Canada Packers (Pg 121).5
    • Canada Packers withdrew from the joint venture which influenced Teys to seek financial backing from Kerry Packer in bidding for the Borthwick assets
    • Purchase price $25M Australian
  • AMH saw the ‘new entrant’, Teys as a threat to AMH’s ability to remain profitable and achieve further rationalisation in the northern region (Pg 122).5
  • AMH commented that Borthwick operations were the main price competition in QLD (Pg 122).5
    • If Borthwicks not in the market AMH would earn $10 a head more per animal.5
  • AMH offered Borthwicks $29M for Australian Assets (Pg 122)
  • TPC advised AMH not to proceed without their consultation as they would likely contravene Sec 50 Trade Practices Act and likely dominate the QLD cattle market (Pg 123).5
  • TPC placed an injunction for AMH to withdraw offer (Pg 123).5
    • AMH resisted arguing the the order would likely allow Teys to purchase without actual determination of contravention of section 50.5
    • AMH  offered undertaking that Borthwicks business’s would be maintained and conducted independently and in competition with the business of AMH.5
    • TPC accepted but possible divestiture order was of significant commercial risk to AMH.5
      • TPC announced an inquiry was to be held.5
    • Borthwicks sale to AMH was accepted 26/01/1988
  • Borthwick Hides and skins business were immediately sold.5
  • All remaining parts of Borthwicks were combined with AMH
  • February. TPC begins inquiry.5
    • TPC accepts that northern QLD is a seperate market to central and southern QLD.5
    • AMH control 5 of the 10 abattoirs in the region.5
  • Bowen abattoir could lift total regional slaughter capacity to over 76.76%.5
  • TPC ruled AMH had contravened section 50.5
    • Ruling was AMH must divest itself of Bowen & Mackay
      • Could retain control of Portland (pg 128).7
    • 3 months to do so
    • appeals and cross appeals conducted.
  • Trade Practices Commission forced sale due to AMH having dominant market share.2
  • March. TPC final judgement ruling on AMH case (Pg 123).5
    • Case is held as precedent on what constitutes the geographical limits of a product market
  • While the court case was in process AMH had been operating the plants(Pg 123).5
    • Profits from them had been above market expectations.5
    • Bowen was of marginal importance
    • Mackay was significant because of the access to lucrative Japanes market (Pg 128).7
  • AMH offered QLD plants to Anglo Irish $32M (Pg 124).5
    • initially Anglo Irish accepted but revalued plants at considerably less and withdrew from the deal
  • TPC increased pressure on AMH to sell plants (pg 124).5
    • If AMH didn’t sell them TPC would put plants up for public auction at market price
  • Nippon Meat Packers, in consortium with Mackay Sugar to purchase the Bowen and Mackay plants (Pg 123,86).5
    • reported $32M

1997

  • July. Is listed at this point in time in Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing.9
    • Beef Export Abattoir #67 Thomas Borthwick & Sons P/L
  • November. Nippon announce closure of the plant.17
    • Loss of employment of 450 workers
  • government encourage company and unions to continue negotiations of a new EBA.17
    • With government prepared to offer assistance package to facilitate new investment in the plant to bring up to world class standards if agreement is reached

1990

8. ABARES Nov 2011_edited-1

Proportion of cattle slaughtered by ownership of abattoirs 1990
Source ABARES foreign ownership 2011 Pg 31

1991

  • 77 Beef export Abattoirs are in operation in Australia at this time.51
    • 27 have some level of foreign ownership.51
    • Ownership dominated by Japan, UK and the US.51

1994

  • Nippon purchase (Pg 86).5 Wingham (NSW)
    • Wingham is a major beef exports facility.5
    • Tomen sells it’s interest to Nippon.5
      • Major shareholder in Anvic Meat Exports Pty Ltd.5

1995

  • Simon Stahl is appointed manager of the Mackay Plant57

1997

  • Nippon has invested $200M in abattoirs and feedlots over the previous decade(Pg 86).5
    • 3rd Largest meat processor in Australia.5
    • Exporting to 34 countries.5

NH foods Oakey export_edited-1

NH Foods holdings. Source www.nh-foods.com.au – General Information accessed 21/12/2015

2000

  • Seasonal closure date of works 20/12/2000.19

2001

  • Seasonal re-opening date of works 22/01/2001.19

2002

  • Mackay facility is currently operating.20
    • 5 days per week.20
      • Day and Afternoon
      • Voluntary Saturdays
    • Processing 1,020 head per day.20

2003

  • February. Borthwicks fined $15,000 after 3 employees overcome by carbon monoxide gas in a chiller room.37

2004

  • March. Borthwicks fined $40,000 for spilling 4 tonnes of tallow into Bakers Creek after a pumping tank overflowed.37
  • May. Borthwicks fined $40,000 due to death of a trainee export buyer when a stack of frozen meat fell on him.37
  • Paid $334,000 compensation to an employee who suffered permanent disability due to cabon monoxide incident.37
  • July. Facility was shut down 12 hours and 350 employees evacuated due to ammonia spill.37

2008

  • Is listed at this point in time in Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing.10
    • Export Abattoir ( Beef Offal) A+
      • #67 Thomas Borthwick & Sons

2005

  • Rockhampton – Lakes Creek (QLD) receives $660,000 federal grant to re-open it’s meatworks under Regional partnerships program.21
    • Rockhampton Lakes Creek had closed in 2002, 1,200 staff lost jobs.21
    • Jointly owned by Teys Investments Pty Ltd and Consolidated Pastoral Company Pty Ltd (Kerry Packer).21
  • Neither Rockhampton (AMH) or Mackay (Nippon) received any finanical support.21
    • Both sites are in direct competition with Rockhampton Lakes Creek.21
  • October. Mackay embarks on extensive recruitment drive locally but to practically no avail.22
    • workers have left to seek employment in the mining industry.22
  • Mackay employs 20 Brazillian boners to replace local workers.22
    • 2 year working Visa, after which they can apply for Australian citizenship.22
    • Workers will receive $950 a week.22
      • In Brazil they earned $200 a month, same work.22
  • Borthwicks plan to import more Brazilian workers next year.22
  • December. 2005 has seen a 50% turnover in the 500 plus staff at the plant.23
  • Borthwicks will employ up to 50 Brazilians in 2006.23
  • Mackay plant contributed to the Mackay economy in 2005.23
    • $17M in wages.23
    • Purchased 150,000 head of stock at cost of $135M.23
      • Numbers down due to restricted supply of cattle due to drought and graziers holding cattle to rebuild herds

QLD Drought 2003_2005_edited-1

Queensland drought situation 2003 – 2005 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

  • Plant seasonal closure 18/12/2005.23

2006

  • Planned seasonal opening Mid January first shift.23
    • second shift in February
  • January. Plan to process 190,000 this year.24
  • Processed 160,000 last year.24
    • 50 Brazilian staff employed
    • some South African tradesmen due to start soon
  • New staff will allow production throughput to lift from 600 to more than 900 head a day.24
    • Staff numbers in total to almost 520
  • August. Up to 30 workers lost jobs due to short supplies of cattle.25
    • second boning shift has been suspended
  • Employees say had less than 25 minutes notice of their termination.25
  • Staff cuts based on ‘last on, first off’ basis.25
  • Australian workers saying they lost their jobs while imported workers kept theirs.25
  • Production to drop from targets of 900 head to 650 head daily.25
  • Shortage of cattle and workers has taken it’s toll.25
  • To operate effectively the facility needs to hire an additional 140 people.25
  • 2 workers who had been on probation period loose their employment after consideration of their performance by the company.26
    • Was done in accordance with EBA
    • Both offered work for the day and one to the end of the week

2007

  • August. 40 Brazilian workers on 457 Visa’s travelled to Rockhampton to meet with AMH for employment at the plant in Rockhampton.27
    • AMH recently been taken over by JBS Friboi
  • September. Federal Member from QLD, National Party, De-Anne Kelly says AMH Holdings is threatening the viability of smaller abattoirs by poaching their overseas workers.28
    • Claims 18 Brazilian workers left a local abattoir to work at Dinmore (QLD).
    • Another 30 workers set to leave Mackay – Nippon Meat Packers
  • October. Meatworks will cut pockets off employee overalls and conduct random searches to prevent stealing of gallstones.29

2008

  • January. Seasonal start up expected to begin 24/01/2008.30
  • Anticpating a great year at the meatworks.30
    • Have had 4 years of struggling against drought and labour problems.30
      • turnover of 35 staff every month.30
    • Borthwicks imported workers on ‘457 visas’ from Brazil, South Africa and the Cook Islands.30
      • housed and looked after by the company.30
    • Another 40 Brazilians, as well as Ireland and South Africans with 50 locals would begin.30
    • Mining has shown a significant slowdown in job offers.30
      • At the peak 600 mining jobs were advertised regularly now only 200.30
    • Existing 350 workforce will soon be joined by 100 more.30
    • Expect to process 150,000 head of cattle.30
      • Increase of 10% on previous year.30
  • “It’s been depressing for 4 years, If it weren’t for the fact we were foreign owned we would have had to close” Simon Stahl. Manager at Borthwicks.30
  • Seasonal conditions had improved significantly in the area.30
    • southern regions were still drought stricken.30

2008

  • June. Borthwicks meatworker is awarded $84,587 in damages for workplace injury.31
    • Total damages award was $102,028.31
      • Work Cover received $17,441.31
  • July. Abattoir will be forced to close for 2 days due to a Truck strike that will affect cattle deliveries.32
    • Truck strike was due to concerns of increased registration costs, harsher penalties for working extra hours.32
    • lack of rest stops forced truck drivers to drive longer than they wanted.32

2009

  • January. Seasonal opening 27/01/2009.33
  • A Halal slaughterman is employed allowing the facility to sell beef to Islamic countries.33
    • lucrative market.33
    • more difficult to access than previous years due to protocols.33
    • Many Muslims around the world interested in Australian beef.33
  • Expected to process 150,000 cattle through the year.33
  • December. Borthwicks loose a Supreme Court appeal against a fine for a workplace accident.34
    • 2 accidents combined total of $114,000.34

2007_2009_edited-1

Queensland drought situation 2007 – 2009 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

2010

  • October. Joint research is conducted using the abattoir waste solids in the pyrolysis process.35
  • Waste to Energy. MLA project A.ENV.0101 March 2011
    • solid waste streams from red meat processing are generally disposed of at cost by the abattoir.35
    • study was to look at ways the waste can be treated through anaerobic/aerobic biological treatment and improving management practices, reducing disposal costs and minimising fossile fuel consumption.35
    • Ways for the abattoir to produce their own renewable energy.35

IBIS Jun 2010_edited-1

Major Companies in the Australian Red meat processing industry

Source IBIS world June 2010

2011

  • January. Devastating floods across Central and southern QLD and large parts of NSW and Victoria.52
    • affected slaughter numbers to abattoirs.52
  • June. Injured foreign meatworker lodges compensation claim Borthwicks $740,000.36
    • Began work at facility February 2006 earning $807 a week.36
    • Worked until Mid August 2009, then placed on light duties until early 2010.36
      • Employment was terminated due to injuries.36
    • Claims that not enough staff or rest breaks are provided.36
    • Typical work day.36
      • Start 6am
      • Take a 7 minute break at 7.20am
      • 20 minute break at 8.30am
      • 7 minute break 10.15am
      • 30 minutes for lunch at 11.15am
      • 7 minute break at 12.45pm
      • 10 minutes at 1.50pm
      • Finish at 2.45pm.
  • July. Borthwicks found guiltyof failing to discharge workplace health and safety obligations for incident that had occured 8/10/2007 when a meatworker had been trapped between a metal beam and shelving.37
  • September. Borthwicks finsed $70,000 for trapped foot incident.38
    • Borthwicks had provided training to the worker and had safety measures in place that had not been disregarded by Borthwicks.38
    • Finding was based on Borthwicks failing risk management.38

 

2012

  • Currently processing 750 head a day.2
  • January. Mackay meatworks seasonal opening about 24/01/2012.39
  • Manager. Simon Stahl leaves and is appointed CEO of NCMC at Casino57
  • November. Australia’s negotiations with Korean beef export market need to be finalised.40
    • Korean Beef trade is worth $770M.40
    • Delays have stalled with Gillard insistance that an Investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in the agreement be excluded.40
    • Korea is Australia’s 3rd largest beef export market.40
      • 2011 146,347 tonnes
      • 15% of Australia’s global beef exports
      • Currently 49% of Korean beef imports
    • Delays in FTA are causing high costs to processors.40
  • Australia’s market position would decline dramatically in 2013 to Korea if the EFT is not finalised soon.40
    • US beef has significant advantages over Australia.40
      • January 2015 will seee US gain a 5.3% tariff advantage
        • Australian been incures 40% tariff to Korea
      • Tariff widens 2.66% each January
        • US entering Korea Tariff free 2026
    • If the FTA is not finalised with similar tariff to US markets.40
      • Australia will incur cumulative loss A$1.4B over 15 years
      • Australia’s share of Korean market falling from current 49% to 26% in 2026.

 Profit Margins_edited-1Nippon Meat Packers Revenue Source IBIS world 2010,2013

revenue_edited-1

Nippon Meat Packers Profit Earnings Source IBIS world 2010,2013

2013

  • Mackay abattoir throughput of meat.41
    • 90% exported
    • 10% for domestic sales
  • Distribution of beef enterprises in the Mackay Whitsunday region is 80% coastal and 20% hinterland.41
    • Many producers combine sugarcane and pasture improvment with cattle production or fattening

2014

  • Nippon Meat Packers Pty Ltd changes name to NH Foods.55
  • Logo NH oakey exports_edited-1

    NH Foods Australia Logo Source  www.nh-foods.com.au

  • April Frozen beef shipments to Russia are temporarily suspended from 07/04/2014.44
    • A similar suspension occurred 31/03/2014 for chilled beef.44
    • Temporary suspension of beef offal imports occurred 27/01/2014.44
  • Wingham exports meat to Russia affected, along with another 29 Australian establishments.44
    • Australia placed additional requirements on its testing requirements.44
    • Russia detected Trenbolone 21/03/2014.44
    • Australian authorities held an immediate meeting with Russian counterparts.44
      • providing details of testing and invited Russia to inspect Australian meat establishments.44
      • Trenbolone is not produced from cattle treated with HGP’s.44
      • Russia has a zero tolerance, most countries have a maximum residue limit.44
  • Russia placed new requirements of detection of Trenbolone.44

 

  • Russia may consider Asia, Chinese port and Indian buffalo meat imports to replace decrease is supplies from the US, European union and Australia.44
  • Australia has been a traditional beef exporter to Russia since the 1970’s.44
    • To July 2012 – June 2013 exported 24,000 tonnes
    • To July 2013 – February 2014 20,000t
    • Trade is worth more than $170M a year
    • Russia is a declining market for Australian beef exports
    • Calendar year to date Russia taken only 1,221t beef
    • Full year exports 2010 and 2011 topped 60,000 tonnes
  • Tropical cyclone Ita hits far north QLD coast.

 

Cyclone Ita April 2014_edited-1

Tropcial Cyclone Ita impacts QLD April 2014 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

  • May. Mackay region producers are fairing better with climate conditions than Western QLD.42
    • Drought a significant factor in many areas of QLD
  • Other factors affecting producers are.42
    • high Australian dollar
    • rising debts
    • surplus of cattle due to halting of live export with Indonesia in 2011
  • July. Australia is on the verge of finalising a FTA with Japan.43
    • 97% of exporters set to get preferential treatment or be duty free
    • Japan’s standard 38.5% tariff on frozen beef will be cut to 19.5%
    • Fresh beef exports tariff will drop to 23.5% over the next 15 years
    • Beef Offal, worth $167M will also have reduced tariff and increased quota
  • December. Korea-Australia Free trade agreement enters into force 12/12/2014.50
    • Initially an immediate cut to some tariffs with a further cut 01/01/2015.50

2015

  • January. MLA forecast.53
    • Australian cattle herd has gone from 35 year high (2013) to 20 year low (2015).53
      • Australian cattle herd slip to 26.8M head by June 2015
      • by 2016 expected decline to 26.5M head
      • by 2020 27.9M head
    • Adult cattle slaughter expected to slump 15% year on year.53
      • 2015 to 7.8M head
      • 2020 expected 7.9M slaughter
      • Long term Female average in 2014 52%
        • Normally female kill percentage 47%
          • Only in years 1977, 1998 & 2003 has female kill been above 50%
    • Beef exports record levels in 2014 1.39M tonnes shipped weight.53
      • Expected to drop 20% to 1.3M tonnes in 2015

 

 

2013_2015_edited-1

QLD Drought Situation 2013 – 2015 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

  • March. Foreign ownership  in Australian red meat processing.

Nippon share_edited-1

Share of Australian red meat processing

Source The Stock Standard. VFF March 2015

  • April. FK Gardiner & Sons plan to build an abattoir, Darling Downs, Toowoomba.46

 

abattoir capacities dept ag sub consolidation_edited-1

Capacity of major beef abattoirs in QLD. Pg 15

T2 Throughput state beef_edited-1

Share of throughput by state for beef in 2014. Pg 16

T4 processing companies market share_edited-1

Major Processing companies by market share May 2015. Pg 16

M4 direct cattle movements NLIS QLD_edited-1

Cattle Movements to abattoirs. Pg 25

F12 hourly labour costs food manufacturing_edited-1

Hourly labour costs for food manufacturing industry Pg 30

  •  December. Currently listed in Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing
    • #67 Thomas Borthwick & Sons Pty Ltd Export Abattoir (Beef Offal) A+.11
  • Mackay abattoir has a current listing as EUCAS accredited abattoir.12
  • Export markets of Borthwick’s include Japan, USA, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Russia, Europe, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Ukraine, Indonesia.13
  • Plant is Halal certified.13
  • Current processing in excess of 750 cattle per day.13
  • Plant closed 10 days earlier than usual for seasonal break.48
  • December. Mackay plant expects it will have to compete hard for cattle in 2016.48
    • Industry has been slaughtering cattle at record rates for the past 3 years.48
      • inevitable a shortage would arrive
    • Current El Nino cycle is creating fear that the rainfall will be reduced in the upcoming wet season.48
      • some graziers are destocking

 

  • American Trim market dropped significantly the last few months.48
    • some processors going into the red
  • Predicts Asian markets opportunities will emerge.48
    • more value add on products
    • Meatworks will look to expand to enable ability to use more of the carcase
    • will see every harvestable portion of organs to be packed

 

  • December. ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates.54
    • Data interpretation – Companies do not pay company tax on revenue (total income) they pay on profits after paying all expenses, including wages, capital replacement, supplier costs and other operating expenses.54
    • Income tax information is for 2013/14.54
  • NH Foods produced Total Income $845,824.273.54
    • Nil taxable income and nil tax payable.54

 

2016

  • January. KAFTA third round of tariff cuts occur 01/01/2016.49
    • Fresh, chilled and frozen beef has a current tariff 34.6%.49
      • Will reduce to 32%
      • Original level was 40%
      • Meat export is worth $A1.07B in 2014/15
      • Korea has always been one of biggest meat export markets
        • Shipments for lamb have increased 35%

 

Sources of Mackay Abattoir

  1. QLD beef industry 1962. pdf
  2. ‘Northern Australian Beef Industry – Assessment of opportunities and risks’ ABARE 2012
  3. House of Representatives Petition. Abattoirs. 09.03.1998.
  4. ‘World on a plate – A history of meat processing in Australia’ Stephen Martyn
  5. ‘Meat Processing in Australia’ IBIS World. June 2010
  6. ‘Employers & Industrial Relations in the Australian Meat Processing Industry’ J OLeary 2008
  7. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing Nov 1987
  8. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing July 1997
  9. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing 18.07.2008
  10. Aus-Meat Accreditation Listing. Accessed 31.12.2015
  11. EUCAS accreditation Dept. Ag. 25.02.2015
  12. www.nh-foods.com.au/thomas-borthwick-sons/
  13. NH Foods brands
  14. ‘Mackay district’ www.trove.nla.gov.au 01.12.1954
  15. www.mackayhistory.org
  16. ‘Mackay Meatworks’ QLD Government media release 11.11.1997
  17. ‘Competition & Exit in Meat Processing’ J Rolfe, R Reynolds 1999
  18. www.cattlefacts.com.au. Work Recess Dates 2000-2001
  19. www.archive.amieu.net 02.07.2002
  20. ‘Packer firm given grant for abattoir’ Sydney Morning Herald 19.02.2005
  21. ‘Meatworks imports workers? The boys from Brazil’ Daily Mercury 21.10.2005
  22. ‘Meatworks to recruit 50 new workers from Brazil’ Daily Mercury 17.12.2005
  23. ‘Abattoir lifts staff numbers’ Daily Mercury 30.01.2006
  24. ‘Struggling abattoir axes 30 workers’ Daily Mercury 21.08.2006
  25. ‘Meatworkers angry at more job losses’ Daily Mercury 23.08.2006
  26. ‘Meatworks hopes to keep workers in Mackay’ ABC News 02.08.2007
  27. ‘More workers to leave Borthwicks abattoir’ ABC Rural 07.09.2007
  28. ‘Abattoir beefs up security after gallstone thefts’ www.mg.co.za 05.10.2007
  29. ‘Our Cash Cows’ Daily Mercury 17.01.2008
  30. ‘Injured worker wins $84,000 payout’ Daily Mercury 10.06.2008
  31. ‘Truck Strike will cause Borthwicks shut-down’ Daily Mercury 26.07.2008
  32. ‘Halal slaughterman to boost Mackay beef exports’ ABC News 27.01.2009
  33. ‘Borthwicks loses court appeal’ Daily Mercury 17.12.2009
  34. Waste to Energy. MLA project A.ENV.0101 March 2011
  35. ‘Injured meatworker sues works’ Daily Mercury 24.06.2011
  36. ‘Meatworker trapped for 20 minutes’ www.questia.com (partial article) 19.07.2011
  37. ‘Company must pay $70,000’ Daily Mercury 12.09.2011
  38. ‘Stock carriers hope for a better year’ Daily Mercury 09.01.2012
  39. ‘Korean beef trade under threat’ The Land 14.11.2012
  40. State of Agriculture region report 2013.
  41. ‘Mackay graziers cash in on strong seasons’ Daily Mercury 08.05.2013
  42. ‘Australia’s free trade agreement with Japan could see prices fall for consumers’ www.news.com 08.07.2014
  43. ‘Update on Russia’s suspension on Australian beef’ Beef Central 03.04.2014
  44. The Stock Standard. VFF March 2015
  45. ‘FKG plans processing move’ QLD Country Life 30.04.2015
  46. Dept Ag. Submission to Market consolidation and the red meat processing sector July 2015
  47. ‘Mackay meatworks gets ready to compete….’ ABC Rural 17.12.2015
  48. ‘Korea cuts import tariffs further’ www.farmonline.com.au 01/01/2016
  49. Trade Minister Media release 03.12.2014
  50. ABARES foreign ownership 2011
  51. ‘Slow season opening for processors’ Beef Central 11.01.2012
  52. ‘MLA forecasts beef market adjustment’ The Land 27.01.2015
  53. ‘ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates’ Beef Central 18.12.2015
  54. www.nh-foods.com.au
  55. Mackay Planning. Connecting Mackay
  56. ‘New CEO for Casino plant’ Beef Central 15.02.2012

Roma #2 (Proposed)

 

July 2014. Maronoa council is seeking $75,000 to conduct a feasibility study into the establishment of an abattoir to process beef, sheep and goats. Proposal is reliant on a new airport at Toowoomba currently being built, rail link improvements that are proposed to Miles and extension of the rail from there to Roma.

Other Names

Current Operation

  •  Proposal.

Location

Owner

Operation

History

2014

  • July. Maronoa Regional Council seeking funding of $75,000 from state and Federal government to budget for ‘high level feasibility’ study into establishment of a beef, sheep and game meat abattoir at Roma.1
  • Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba is being constructed and could open new opportunities to Asia, Middle East.1
  • Proposed upgrades to inland rail infrastructure.1
    • Rail  improvments to finish at Miles1
  • some private sector interest had been shown from a delegation from Asia1
  • Not looking to compete with Charleville (QLD) goat abattoir.1
    • Charleville abattoir currently operating at capacity with 80% of the feral goats coming from Surat Basin area.1
  • Council looking for ways to soften downturn in the economy that is predicted to hit once  the resource boom subsides.1

Sources

  1. ‘Roma ramps up abattoir study’ QLD Country Life 31.07.2014

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

 

 

 

 

 

Oakey

Located near Toowoomba, a large processing facility of mainly grain-fed beef, owned by NH Foods (Japanese origins). 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. Includes short history of early days of the Japanese/Australian meat trade markets and general QLD market conditions affecting processing

Other Names

  • Toowoomba abattoir
  • Nippon Meat Packers name changed to NH Foods Australia
  • Oakey abattoir
  • Oakey Beef Exports

Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation registration dated 29/12/2015 #558 – Oakey Beef Exports Pty Ltd.3
    • registered as a Beef, Offal export facility.3
  • Direct employment enquiries to www.nmpa.com.au

Location   

  • Located north west of Toowoomba on QLD Darling downs5

Australia Oakey

Oakey

Source Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.

Owner

  • Nippon Meat Packers1
    • Subsidiary of a Japanese Multinational1
    • Nippon meat packers incorporated 19781

products_edited-1Source Nippon Meat Packers Australia interactive beef products

This is a great diagram that is able to be clicked on in the Nippon website and illustrates where the various cuts of beef and offal are located in the animals bodies

Operation 

  •  Nippon currently own 3 operating abattoirs in Australia,
  • Nippon owned Bowen (QLD) which they closed in 1997
  • Combined processing capacity 2,700 cattle day2.
    • also owns and operates a feedlot1  at Whyalla5 and
      • 3 beef farms1
        • At 2014 land in Texas QLD and Tasmania on King Island5
      • 3 tanneries1
        • Oakey Blue tan factory closed 20127
      • piggery1
        • Piggery assets sold off2
    • Processes predominently grain-fed cattle1
      • 100 to 300+ day5
      • Processing mainly British and European cross steers5
    • All plants are certified organic to process and slaughter.1
    • Sells product  under subsidiary company1
      • Beef Producers Australia Pty Ltd – Sells approximately 20% of Oakey product, marketed domestically1
      • Nippon Meat Packers Australia Ltd (Exporter)1
      • third of product is exported to Japan2
    • Sells products under labels1
      • Nippon1
      • Australian premium beef1
      • Wingham gold1
      • Borthwicks1
    • Vertically integrated supply chain that allows traceabilty from animal’s property of birth through to end user5
      • traceability includes details on animal, workers, defects, yield and volume data5
    • Fully integrated slaughtering, fabricating, chilling, freezing and rendering facility.5

picture_edited-1Source – ‘Productivity a bone of contention in abattoir strike’ ABC Rural. 01.05.2012.
Oakey abattoir facility

brands_edited-1brands #2_edited-1Source. www.nmpa.com.au
Various branded products sold from the Oakey facility

Historical and current meatworks, canneries and abattoirs located in Australia can be viewed at;

Australian abattoirs inactive map

abattoirs_edited-1

History of Oakey meat processing facility

Authors Note – As Nippon Meat Packers, now NH Foods is Japanese owned firm I have included some information that is in relation to Australia/Japanese Beef  early trading. I don’t know how directly relevant it would have been to the Oakey abattoir.

1956

  • Oakey Facility established.5

1968

  • Japanese Beef Trade
    • January. Trial shipment of chilled 1500lbs (680kg) meat vacuum packed by Borthwicks from the Murarrie plant on the Brisbane river shipped to Yokohama, Japan (Pg 72).28
      • Product arrived 3 weeks later(Pg 72)
    • Requirements by Japanese were placed on frozen beef, required frozen temperatures at all points of the supply chain, even to small retail outlets (Pg72)
      • Logisitically this was extremely difficult as frozen meat had to be defrosted in advance for retail sale (Pg 72)
      • Chilled beef was much easier to handle (Pg 72)

1969

  • Japanese Beef Trade
    • Market research conducted by Borthwicks identified consumer market preference (Pg73).28
      • 15% high quality meat
        • Significant opportunity for Australia to provide high quality meat
      • 40% middle class meat
      • 45% was low quality
        • Australian cattle were meeting this demand in canned meats, curries and low priced product
    • The First containerised vessels are used in Australia opening up new opportunities to send vaccum packed beef primals to Japan (Pg71).28
  • Growing feedlot industry was developing to cater for the Japanese trade (of which Japan interests had no equity) (Pg 81).28
  • Designated store project in Japan started to differentiate the Australian product at retail level (Pg 84).28
    • by 1971 Japan had 740 Australian meat designated stores.

1970

  • Japanese Beef Trade
    • First full container of cryovac packaged chilled beef primals is shipped to Japan from the Borthwicks Brooklyn plant in Victoria (Pg 72).28
      • One of the first containers of any export commodity to Japan from Australia
      • Initial shipments of the packaged meat was in high quality wooden boxes, with each lid having a printed message about the contents
        • Card that placed inside the box, was protected from moisture damage, also provided a great deal of factual information about the product, it’s shelf life and that it had been chilled, not frozen.
        • Japanese retailers valued the box, some for fuel but also as reliable evidence to customers that this was a superior product
        • Wooden boxes later replaced by reinforced cardboard
        • The boxes and presentation made an everlasting impression and established reputation as Australian beef being of the best quality

1970

  • Alot of work is done at Oakey with Lindgren packaging  to commercialise and develope meat vacuum packs (Pg 74).28
    • Australia world leader in this development

1971

  • Japanese Beef Trade
    • First QLD shipments of beef to Japan occur from QLD (Pg 74).28

1974

  • Oil Crisis occurs (Pg 74).28
    • Oil embargoes (restriction of supply) had occured in 1973 by members of OPEC (the organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries)
      • economic fallout proved catestrophic for the red meat industry
      • Oil dependent economies feared the effects of the oil restriction and closed their countries to imported beef to protect their currency and own livestock growers (Pg 81)
  • Japanese beef markets are closed (Pg 74).28
    • Australia had a large beef herd at the time
      • Australia and the US sold off their beef herds
      • Prices plummeted from 1974 prices of $350/hd to $40/hd in 1976
      • Australia had limited export markets and therefore sold into the US, producers there were already liquidating
        • US beef and mutton prices crashed, taking the industry with them
        • European beef mountain was created – EU stockpiled beef which they later sold into the early 1980’s furthur supressing prices world wide
  • Australian red meat exports fell by 43% in 1973/74 (Pg 81).28

1975

  • Japanese beef markets re-open (Pg 74).28
    • Much of the investment in chilled technology and production systems had been lost
    • Frozen sector sales to Japan recovered better but chilled took much longer
  • Feedlots that had previously catered to Japanese markets had collapsed with big losses. This inhibited investment into the future due to mistrust of the stability of the market.(Pg 81).28
    • rebuilding of the trade was dependent on Japanese importers investing in the feedlots so that they shared some of the risk

1976

  • Australian National cattle herd reached an all time high of 33.4M head (Pg 81).28

1978

  • Australian slaughter peaks at 10.8M head (Pg 81).28
  • Most abattoirs, both domestic and export are running at capacity (Pg 81).28
    • not uncommon for cheaper cuts to be rendered rather than sold as meat
  • Company of Nippon Meat Packers Australia Pty Ltd is established.29

 

 1980’s

  • Australian cattle herd has fallen by 11M head (Pg 82).28
  • Australian Sheep herd dropped from 174M in 1970 to 135M in 1985 (Pg 82).28
  • Many abattoirs and meatworks couldn’t source enough cattle to remain viable (Pg 82).28
  • Japanese beef market.28
    • Prior to 1960’s Japan’s main source of animal protein was whale meat and the mainstay of school lunch program (Pg 84)
      • Whale meat accounted for 25% of Japanese meat consumption (Pg 84)
      • Japan enabled a number of sub quota’s for red meat industry into which Australia was able to provide product (Pg 84)
        • supplied various sectors and agencies
          • School lunch program
          • Hotal quota
          • airline quota

1981

  • August. ‘Meat substitution scandal’ occurs in Australia.(Pg 82).28
    • Pet food grade meats, donkey, kanagroo and others were found in shipments to the US. Meat was being transported from northern parts of Australia to southern Australia, reboxed and repackaged and exported.28
    • Leads to Royal commission in the Australian Meat Industry.28
    • Profoundly damages Australia’s meat export reputation.28
    • leads to the evolution of AUS-MEAT.28
      • costs of regulation closed many export abattoirs.28
      • The US significantly step up standards of requirements for meat into the US under the USDA.28

1987

  • Nippon purchase Oakey abattoir1
    • Nippon began in Japan in 1942, establishing the Tokushima meat processing factory, producing ham and sausages (Pg 86).28
      • when supplies of pork were scarce, would substitute other proteins.28
        • rabbit, whale.28
        • By 1960 mutton was found to be a good substitute, which it began to source from Australia.28
        • Company changed its name to Nippon meat packers in 1963 and entered into business with US Swift 1969.28
          • Swift already had connections in Australian meat processing at that time.28
        • Purchase of Oakey was in direct response to Japanese beef market liberalisation.28

1987 purchased Oakey_edited-1

Oakey abattoir. Source www.nipponham.co.jp

  • Japan beef markets are liberalised(Pg 82).28
    • Lead to removal of import quotas and reduction in import tariffs.28
    • Gave companies in Japan opportunity and incentive to expand into meat importation, some who had been restricted prior to the liberalisation (Pg 85).28
    • Previously tenders had protected certain trading houses.28
    • Significant investment had occured in fully integrated supply chains into Japan to realise market potential and commitment to the Japanese market irrespective of market conditions.28Japanese export markets 001

Source World on a Plate –  A history of meat processing in Australia. Stephen Martyn. (Pg 83)

  • US industry analysts thought the US would be the major benefactor of Japanese markets opening up (Pg 85).28
    • US underestimated Australia as it (Australia) had previously only supplied mainly meat from grassfed stock.28
    • Assumed Australia would be confined to commodity meat supplies rather than the premium markets.28
    • Authors note; Significant investment occurred in Australian feedlots at this time to enable grainfed custom feeding of animals suited to specific Japanese meat markets.28
  • Nippon purchase Whyalla feedlot near Texas, NSW.67
    • already a 3,000 head feedlot.67
      • extensively developed latter in 1990.67

1989

  • Nippon also purchase the AMH plants at.28
    • Mackay (QLD) and
    • Bowen (QLD).
      • closed 1996 as part of capacity rationalisation.28
    • Operated boning room through subsidiary Namoi Valley Beef
      • Gunnedah abattoir (NSW)
        • Council operated, service kill facility
        • Closed 1997
      • Mudgee abattoir (NSW)
      • At the time was operated by council as a service kill facility,
        • Had massive debt and went into receivership.28
        • Later purchased by Flectcher’s in 2003, still in operation
    • Nippon is sensitive to it’s position as a foreign owned, non-Anglo company in Australia (Pg 86).28
      • keeps a low profile.28
      • Makes most asset purchases as joint ventures.28

 

1990

  • Nippon develop the Whyalla feedlot – Oakeys Holdings.28
    • Nippon website says they purchased this site in 1988.29

1988 whyalla feedlot_edited-1

Whyalla Feedlot. Source www.nipponham.co.jp

  • Whyalla feedlot is developed to a unprecedented scale.67
    • previously been a 3,000 head feedlot.67
    • Now scaled to 50,000 head.67
      • Later extended to 56,000 head.67
    • largest Australian single feedlot site.67
      • led the way in ‘US scale commercial feedlot operations.67
    • Australia’s largest feedmilling infrastructure.67
      • 8  18 x 36 inch roller mills.67
      • feeding 750 tonnes  mostly barley based mix a day.67
      • 5 delivery trucks – 4 in use at any one time.67
      • yard can store 100,000t grain.67
      • silos can store 26,000t.67
      • most hay produced on farm.67
      • corn is contracted silage.67
    • Site is licencsed to 75,000 head.67
    • Holds 100% Nippon owned cattle.67
      • 50% straight Angus.67
    • Cattle sourced from QLD, NSW, Victoria, and Central Australia.67
    • Typically induct 3,000 head a week.67
      • similar numbers dispatched.67
      • animals pre-vaccinated before induction.67
      • animals monitored individually.67
    • Yards.67
      • every pen has shade.67
        • unique slattered shadecolth system.67
    • Initially feeding was focused on Japanese markets.67
      • mid to longfed progam out to 300 days.67
        • heavily reliant on marbling-oriented British breeds
      • Now feeds large variety.67
      • most cattle are 120 – 150 day.67
      • Change in feeding length changed annual turnover.67
        • 2014 calendar year turned out 132,000 head.67
        • 2003 turned out 93,000.67
    • Vertical integration of abattoir /feedlots. Not focused soley on Japanase markets and has been versatile in supply to international and domestic markets.67
  • ABARES report – Foreign Investment and Australian Agriculture

8. ABARES Nov 2011_edited-1

Proportion of cattle slaughtered by ownership of abattoirs 1990
Source ABARES foreign ownership 2011 Pg 31

1991

  • 77 Beef export Abattoirs are in operation in Australia at this time.54
    • 27 have some level of foreign ownership.54
    • Ownership dominated by Japan, UK and the US.54

1993

  • Acquire Rochel feedlot in NSW (3000 head) to assist research into cattle performance.28

1994

  • Nippon purchase (Pg 86).28 Wingham (NSW)
    • Wingham is a major beef exports facility.28
    • Tomen sells it’s interest to Nippon.28
      • Major shareholder in Anvic Meat Exports Pty Ltd.28

1997

  • Nippon has invested $200M in abattoirs and feedlots over the previous decade(Pg 86).28
    • 3rd Largest meat processor in Australia.28
    • Exporting to 34 countries.28

NH foods Oakey export_edited-1

NH Foods holdings. Source www.nh-foods.com.au – General Information accessed 21/12/2015

1999

  • Spent $2M in marketing new Barley beef brand to Japanese customers1
  • Nominal capacity estimated at 50,000 head as per 50 weeks3

2001

  • Nippon establish leather wet blue tannery near abattoir to process Oakey hides and from other facilities, including competitors7
    • Prior to GFC hides are worth $110 each7

2003

  • July.Jondaryan Shire Council approve the project 08/07/2003.31
  • Started upgrades to plant and facilities, included new boning room, new slaughter room and a new traceability and control system1
    • Upgrade takes until about 20061
    • Slaughter capacity of approximately 1200 cattle per day1
    • Create 700 new jobs.31
      • Upgrade proposing to lift capacity to 2,000 head a day.31
      • Make Oakey the 2nd largest abattoir in QLD.31
      • Upgrades to take place over 5 years.31
  • $46M expansion using Marel meat equipment4,
    • New boning system includes 4 flowlines to take beef quarters to 96 individual workstations where beef is boned and trimmed before being vacuum packed for further processing in Japan4
    • Old system was meat was cut on tables now it is hanging in front of worker and is more efficent and easier4
    • created 500 new jobs4
    • make Oakey the 4th or 5th largest beef abattoir in Australia and 3rd largest in QLD4
    • New system expected to have effective life of 20 years with maintenance.4
    • key point of Marel system was the traceability, particularly important in latter years when BSE closed market access for US  to Japan and allowed access by Nippon to those markets4
  • “Marel traceability/accountability system …proved to be a magnificant investment, despite its detractors at the time” Pat Gleeson, Oakey general manager. 10.03.2014

2004

  • January. Construction offically begins at the abattoir for the upgrades.32
    • Workforce will lift from 500 to 1,100 workers.32
    • processing and export earnings capacity is to double.32
    • First stage of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2004.32
  • Expansion of the meatworks will be ready when the industry turns around.32
  • “So even though times are tough at the moment, now is the right time to build rather than waiting until good times and then rushing around trying to build, so it’s a confidence thing at the moment” Jim Vick, Oakey Managing Director.32
  • September. Oakey Ergon Energy power substation causes black out 5.5 hrs, Caused shut down of the abattoir for that time.33
    • Third power failure in 3 weeks.33
    • New $7M power facility will be built.33
  • December. Abattoir extenstions $46M.34
    • Offically opened 03.12.2004.34
    • Facility will use NLIS, seen as controversial at the time.34
      • system guarantees quality, consistency and traceability.34
      • Ensures importers product is high-quality and disease free.34
    • Oakey expansion will mean 500 new jobs over the next 3 years
      • increase of capacity to 2,000 head a day by 2007.34

2005

  • Nippon form a strategic allience with OBE Beef – Australia’s largest supplier of certified organic meat1
    • Plan to export meat to UK and Central Europe under ‘Borthwicks’ organic brand1
  • Strong demand for export product key factor in gains in net profit after tax gains of 60%, with 2005/06 NPAT $21.5M from earnings of $875M (All Nippon meat Packers financial performance combined)1
  • Nippon upgrade hide tanning facility extensively to world-class quality – facility now has capacity to process 20,000 hides a week.7
  • Significant regions of drought across QLD.

QLD Drought 2003_2005_edited-1

Queensland drought situation 2003 – 2005 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

2006

  • Sales revenue increased but net loss occured for year (Financial year ending June) $23.2M1
    • Large increase in administration costs of $30M1
    • Increase in wages due to increased employment1
  • Nippon Meat Packers Australia produce 5.9% of Australia’s red meat production in 2006.54
    • 3 abattoirs in operation.54

2007

  • Australian subsidiary earnings struggled in the first half of 2006/2007 due to higher cattle prices , low prices in Japan and high Australian dollar, earnings recovered in early part of 20071
  • Aim to increase profitability by processing more grain fed cattle1
  • Costs for raw materials increased for higher grain and oil prices1
  • May. Oakey shire water plant implement $6M upgrades to connect and treat bore water supplied to businesses in Oakey.35
    • Oakey residents, Oakey abattoir, Army Aviation centre, Jondaryan township.35
  • June. Abattoir is able to deliver system that is able to trace each piece of meat back to property of birth.36
    • system provides vital defect and yield feedback.36
  • Processing 1,000 cattle per shift.36
    • Mostly from the feedlot in Texas.36

2008

  • March.Queensland rail (QR) deem the rail siding west of the works requires upgrading and is currently unsafe.6
    • QR agree with Oakey management to run cattle train to Dalby, abattoir would pay for additional freight to Oakey.6
      • Allows Oakey to access and bid for cattle on Northern and Western district properties6
  • Sales revenue fallen by average of 1.2% in real terms, in contrast industry revenue estimated to have grown at marginal rates in real terms1
  • Nippon launches a large scale reform of Australian business to improve earnings in 2007/20081
    • Involved cutting costs in cattle feeding, processing plants and leather business1
    • potentially reorganising plants1
    • possible closure of piggery1
    • revenue affected by high Australian dollar and weak demand for beef in Japan1
  • Withdraws from restaurant operations and Hog production and sells idle farmland2
  • August. Sulphuric acid leak occurs from a tank, spilling 2,000 lt.37
    • no injuries occur.37
  • November. Nearly all 730 staff are stood down due to a shortage of cattle.38
    • One day, 11/11/2008, staff not paid.38
    • Management not alarmed.38
      • Couldn’t get enough stock for full weeks kill.38
      • Time of year was traditionally slower as was crop harvest period.38
  • Global finanical crisis is also causing a reduction in export sales.38
    • Korea and Russia slowed significantly.38
    • Difficult selling to those overseas countries where the money was difficult to obtain.38
    • Managing Director Howard Halter said Oakey was a lot better positioned to handle current climate than processors in Brisbane and North QLD.38

2009

  • Plans to double processing capacity to 2,000 cattle per day by moving to a two shift system1
    • Employing 750 people1
  • Plant certified for halal production and now exports to halal markets2
    • mostly Middle Eastern markets.30
  • Sluggish growth and weak export demand due to global economic downturn2
  • December. Queensland Rail (QR) informs Oakey they will not stop at Dalby, only unloading the cattle at ‘End of the line’ – Brisbane6
    • Oakey abattoir would have to truck cattle back from Brisbane 200km, from a tick zone and up the range to Oakey6
    • Dalby to Oakey is 50km6
    • Brisbane to Oakey is 200km6
  • Comparative road frieght to rail from Quilpie to Oakey6
    • Road $1.45/km 805km equals $1,167.25 /deck or $51,359 for 44 deck consignment6
    • Rail $1.03 /km 805km equals $829.15 /deck or $36,482.6o for 44 deck consignment6
      • Difference $14,876.40 over 44 decks6
      • QR were now making it uncompetitive if extra freight is incurred from Brisbane6
      • Situation of competitiveness would worsen if the abattoir can’t access channel country cattle.6

2007_2009_edited-1

Queensland drought situation 2007 – 2009 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

2010

  • August. 2 employees  sacked for workplace bullying.39
    • Incident occured in July.39
    • Became a Fair Workplace Investigation.39
    • Worker bullied had supported speeding up the chain to 157 beasts, others wanted slowed to 155 beasts
  • October. Worker who claimed workplace bully and led to 3 people being sacked is now centre of a workplace bully allegation himself.40

IBIS Jun 2010_edited-1

Major Companies in the Australian Red meat processing industry

Source IBIS world June 2010

2011

  • January. Devastating floods across Central and southern QLD and large parts of NSW and Victoria.48
    • affected slaughter numbers to abattoirs.48
  • March. Pittsworth abattoir -Located 30km south of Oakey closes
    • Regional abattoir that did private kills for farmers and supplied local butchers.41
      • employed 35 people.41
      • Lack of available stock and persistent rain were the reasons for closure.41
  • June. 3 workers  in July 2010 incident reinstated.42
    • ‘Booing, mooing and barking” was part of the workplace’s culture.42
    • Video footage used as evidence.42
    • Oakey abattoir ordered to reinstate and pay undiclosed sum for renumeration to one man, another man had withdrawn unfair dismissal claim.42
  • July.National slaughter rates decline 5%.43
    • Australian currency pressures.43
      • A$ is now above US108c.43
      • economic news out of US could send currency even higher.43
      • higher A$ would cripple Australia’s already limited price competitiveness for beef in international markets.43
    • QLD which does approximately half of Australia’s processing capacity.43
      • Down 8% from the previous week.43
      • lowest kill recorded in QLD in July for past decade.43
      • Down 21% on same period last year.43
      • Significant number of QLD plants only killing 3-4 days.43
    • listless export beef demand.43
    • Meat processing and export is low-margin business due to.43
      • Import duties.43
        • Indonesia 9%.43
        • Korea 40%.43
        • Japan 38%.43
      • New AQIS charges on meat inspection would add millions to processor costs.43
    • Was currently a big build up of meat in cold stores due to difficulty in selling into sluggish markets, Japan and the US.43
  • August. Top chefs tour the abattoir as part of a south east QLD tour.44
  • Cattle are in short supply, 2008 & 2009 had been drought periods.45
    • with seasonal pressure lifting producers are retaining females for breeding.45
    • Period of drought that lasted 10 to 15 years.45
    • “We’re paying for the numbers of store cattle that were killed in the droughts up until 3 years ago” Kurt Wockner, Oakey Livestock manager.45
  • Expected diversion of northern cattle displaced by the Indonesia live export ban won’t come to the processors until April 2012.45
  • September. Oakey abattoir hold an open day for active suppliers.46
    • Inspection tour of the plant.46
    • Boning room – features four production lines.46
      • provides individual animal traceability from the animal to the vacuum -packed primals in cartons.46
      • Oakey processing 1,100 per day single shift.46
  • Change in production emphasis from primarily being dedicated grainfed plant to much broader range of cattle.46
    • grassfed export steers.46
    • grain and grassfed yearlings.46
    • bulls.46
    • cows and.46
    • high quality EU grain and grassfed.46
  • A$ now us103c.47
  • Some QLD southern plants operated only 6 shifts for the week down from 10.47
  • General shortage of killable cattle across Eastern Australia.47
    • AACo lifted 4,000 from Brunette downs and 2,000 from Anthony’s Lagoon to processors.47
    • Weights for cattle are expected to be heavier later in the spring and early summer 20-30kg above normal.47
  • November. ABARES foreign ownership 2011 report is released

7. ABARES Nov 2011_edited-1

Red Meat throughput Australian abattoirs, Foreign and Australian owned 2011 Source ABARES foreign ownership 2011 Pg 29

2012

  • January. Nippon close down ‘New Wave Leather wet blue tannery’  located at Oakey site.7
    • High Australian dollar and increases in direct processing costs forced tannery to cease operations
    • facility had capacity to process 20,000 hides per week7
    • Employed 38 full time and 15 casual staff7
    • was leading blue tannery supplying value-added blued hides to the international market7
    • Nippon deny had tried to sell business outright and may reconsider re-opening.7
    • Hides from the Oakey abattoir would now be salted and exported raw to China, where labour and other input costs and regulatory pressures are low.7
    • Hides currently worth $457
      • Prior to GFC $1107
      • 2009 $10 and less7
  • Japan export market has stagnated and Nippon shift focus to emerging markets in Russia and the Middle East2
  • Strength of Australian dollar is declining and increased competition from US will make breaking into new markets more difficult2
    • also competition from Brazil increasing2
  • Oakey commence season after traditional Christmas/New year season in 2nd week of January.48
    • on a reduced kill.48
  • ABARES release a report into foreign ownership in the red meat processing sector See Nov 2011.49
    • report ‘underwhelming’ adding nothing to current industry knowledge.49
  • Australian dollar has continued to climb US106c.50
  • Export demand North Asia and Russia remains subdued.50
    • current state of export market ‘woful’.50
    • some strengthening in the grinding meat market.50
  • Beef stocks held by processors are starting to decline.50
  • Many QLD processors were forced to close due to rain,.50
    • record 24 hour and 48 hour rainfalls in parts of QLD.50
  • Oakey plan to close for 1 day 03/02/2012.50
  • April.
  • AMIEU give notice 19/04/2012 of 2 hour protected industrial action to occur on 27/04/20128
    • AMIEU gave notice 27/04/2012 to Oakey management work stoppage to occur 27/04/2012 ending Friday 04/05/20128
      • originally planned a 2 hour protective action for Friday only, “The company responded to that by progressively locking out workers indefinitely, workers responded with this week-long protected industrial action” Brian Crawford, AMIEU QLD branch secretary10
    • AMIEU advised  that further 24 hour stoppage to occur 04/05/2012, work to resume Tuesday 08/05/2012 as Monday was a public holiday8
    • 600 workers on strike, not to be paid during action9
    • Management response  cease processing Friday 27/04/2012.8
    • AMIEU refused to allow members to bone out Thursday 26/04/2012.8
      • management conducted process themselves8
      • May 7 article claims 400 carcases still hanging in chillers11
  • Oakey and Management been in negotiations since May to finalise new Enterprise bargaining Agreement8
    • Oakey require productivity offsets required for plant to remain competitive with domestic and internation markets, current unfavourable trading conditions particularly in grain-fed business could not be sustained.8
    • Members of AMIEU not happy about productivity push, which includes increasing the speed of the boning room chain9
    • Workers want compulsory Saturday work to be wiped from the contract10
    • AMIEU want 4% wage increase, but won’t accept staff work faster12
      • management want to increase chain speed in boning room by 15 minutes12
      • other places are working faster and they have agreements with AMIEU that are signed and certified12
  • Workforce would prolong strike if agreement was not reached10
  • The shutdown would hurt local businesses, retail had not been great in the region.51
  • May. Toowoomba’s Labour day celebrations, abattoir workers among meatworkers marching with signs that read “Scab labour will not be tolerated”, non-unionised salary workers would be bought in.11
  • AMIEU – Main issue is the chain speed in the boning room and complusory Saturday work.52
    • Workers walked off 27/04/2012.52
    • Scheduled to resume 03/05/2012.52
      • Now they won’t go back until 04/05/2012 (Saturday?).52
  • May 4. Protected action scheduled to finish today.53
    • AMIEU has not been told when operations can resume.53
  • AMIEU say will not return to work at earliest 08/05/2012 unless an agreement is reached.55
  • 10 day strike led by AMIEU ended midnight 9th May. Management had continued to lock workers out with the AMIEU waiting to be advised of how long it would continue13
  • May 11th AMIEU Brian Crawford currently in talks with Oakey management Pat Gleeson.14
  • Management continues to lock staff out, even though strike ended, will not open until an agreement is reached.56
  • May 20, Oakey management release statement “..the decision of the workers to continue to strike is regrettable, but the company intends to continue to  negotiate in good faith to bring about an acceptable outcome that addresses the fundamental issue of productivity with its workforce”16
  • May 21. Workers return to work, compromise on wage increase and chain speed reached.17
    • 4% pay increase.58
  • Members of Construction forestry Mining and Energy union from Acland Coal mine have encouraged and supported AMIEU workers since start of strike14
  • Local businessmen say protracted action at the abattoir has hurt local retail trading as they rely on everyday people to walk into stores.15
  • Businesses have felt the impact from the strike and will continue to for couple weeks after work restarts.57
  • EBA negotiations had been occurring for 18 months11

Industrial dispute Oakey. 2012_edited-1

Industrial Dispute Calendar – Oakey Beef Exports 2012.

  • current high Australian dollar is particularly damaging to manufacturers and exporters alike.8
  • Boning room supervisor Bob Costello wins prestigious manufacturing industry-wide award.59
    • Manufacturing Student of the year.59
    • Nominated by the employer.59
    • Diploma of meat processing course.59
    • Bob Costello made major contribution to improving plant efficiency.59
      • saved thousands of dollars worth in daily savings to the facility.59
      • based on preliminary work on the carcase while hot to improve yield and reduce waste.59
      • Worked in the industry for 28 years, working his way through different levels of processing.59
  • November. Major southeast QLD processor say they have ample cattle supply in coming weeks to meet current requirements and international demand.62
    • Seasonal conditions are deteriorating.62
    • Large areas have had bushfires.62
  • Superstorm – Hurricane Sandy hit the US east coast and affected some imports.62
    • damage to US processing facilities and infrastructure was significant.62
    • Port of Philiadelphia (largest port of entry for beef) is open.62

 Profit Margins_edited-1Nippon Meat Packers Revenue Source IBIS world 2010,2013

revenue_edited-1

Nippon Meat Packers Profit Earnings Source IBIS world 2010,2013

2013

  • March. AACo conduct service kills for it’s brand products of 1824 and Waygu beef are being conducted at Oakey and Toowoomba (QLD) JBS Beef city.63
    • AACo don’t harvest and retain all of the material from the animal.63
      • processor (Not AAC0)keeps red & white offals, blood products, meat and bonemeal and tallow.63
      • AACo are in direct competition with major processors JBS, Teys/Cargill and Nippon in brand products.63
      • AACo began building their abattoir near Darwin.63 Livingstone abattoir (NT)
  • September. Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS) registration process has begun at Oakey plant with information for suppliers to follow to establish PCAS certified grassfed supply chain18
    • cost of audit was likely to be point of resistance early in PCAS development18
  • Companies industry related revenue estimated to have contracted by 1.7% due to Australian chilled beef prices remaining flat over 2008/09 and 2009/102
    • weak export demand due to global economic downturn2
  • Oakey plant had killed same number of cattle in 2013 as it did for entire period of 2012 season.19
    • Daily kill 1200-1300 head are 30% above last year at the same time19
    • Kill weights are reflected by the drought.19
      • Average carcase weights back 20-25kg compared to 2012, due to lighter average weight of steers and significantly higher proportion of female slaughter19
    • In general Eastern states kill tally recorded by the National Livestock reporting services up 15% on same week last year19
  • October. Queensland abattoirs being charged up to $27,000 a month through a religious levy on meat exports in Jakarta to raise money for Islamic schools and mosques20
    • Scandel has stopped QLD halal meat exports to Indonesia, abattoir operators boycott expensive Halal certifiers endorsed by the Indonesian council of Ulama (MUI)20
    • certifiers must donate a share of their revenue to mosques and Islamic schools.20
    • Australian Halal food services (AHFS)was charging quarter of other certified endorser – was suspended by MUI for engaging in unfair competition that could weaken halal certification20
    • DAFF have no control over approvals for religious certifiers.20
    • Oakey relied on AHFS for certification and were now unable to sell Halal meat in Indonesia21
      • Indonesia was an important market for Oakey product21

2014

  • Nippon Meat Packers Pty Ltd changes name to NH Foods.29

Logo NH oakey exports_edited-1

NH Foods Australia Logo Source  www.nh-foods.com.au

  • January. Lack of rain and failure of the northern monsoon has left many areas critically short of feed in western and southern QLD.64
    • Dry areas extending across northern NSW.64
    • critical decision time for drought impacted producers.64
    • One processor states its is the worst start-of-season outlook in 35 years of business.64
    • first quarter of 2014 looking to be period of extreme high cattle turnoff.64
    • Some large processors not booking prices only kill slots.64
      • due to uncertainty over cattle supply.64
      • high placement rate in feedlots late in 2013.64
      • catch up of grain-fed kills due to seasonal break.64
  • February. Forecast of very difficult next 12 months due to supply of animals if drought breaking rains received.24
    • Herds rebuild and producers retain cattle24
    • Plans are to maximise numbers of cattle on feed which will help to insulate from predicted shortages in 3 months.24
  • currently employing 700 people24
  • upgraded trucking and spelling facility at abattoir that can hold 1000 head on feed in seperate area from plant operations24
  • Installation of Covered high rate Anaerobic (COHRAL) lagoon to extract green energy biogas from waster water streams to replace millions of dollars worth of natural gas currently consumed22
    • Uses concentrated anaerobic bacteria to digest 70% of organic matter of high chemical oxygen demand to produce effluent of far higher quality than typical open lagoons22
      • collect 6000 cubic metres of methane each day, calculated to produce a saving of about 50,000 gigajoules of natural gas used in boilers each year23
      • methane will produce 1 mega watt electricity each day23
    • floating membrane will draw gas off as soon as produced and held in specific bladder tanks for use until required.23
      • methane is cooled before use, moisture and sulphides removed before being used in boilers.23

CST wastewater_edited-1Illustration of process of gas recovery of an Anaerobic lagoon
Source CST wastewater solutions

  • reduce plants carbon footprint22
  • reduce waste water22
    • noval distribution system along bottom of lagoon will allow water retention period lower from 25 days to 15.23
  • Plant expects to repay cost of construction within 5 years22
    • $5M – with return on investment in 4 years23
      • $4M in capital works alone
    • reduce annual gas bill by 42%23
  • after 5 years continue to deliver benefits and profitability virtually to perpetuity22
  • gaurd against future price rises in cost of energy and imposts such as carbon tax22
    • energy is a significant and rising component of operating, Diesel, electricity and gas23
  • Project is entirely self-funded and did not attract support under former Federal government carbon abatement grants23
  • Project research funding partially from Australian Meat Processor Corporation & MLA donar company as a Plant initiated Project26
    • If implemented the process can provide a number of direct and indirect economic, social and environmental benefits to abattoirs across Australia26
    • Funding is through private investment, matching governement dollars, and producer levies are used.26

Beef central 28.08.2014_edited-1Oakey abattoir Source Beef Central 28.08.2014

  • project should be finished by late 201523
  • Is the first to use covered lagoons, other installations use reactor tanks of cement or steel23
  • project may help to handle future expansion of plant23
    • vision that will process 1500 head per day using 6 day operation within 3 years23
      • depends on national herd recovery after the drought ends23
  • other plants at Mackay and Wingham will be considered for installation of COHRAL23
  • plant needs to have diligence of staff to ensure chemicals don’t affect bacterial action23
  • currently 750 people employed at Oakey22
  • March. Sod turning ceremony to begin biogas development.65
    • Oakey is sending 75% of its beef production to export.65
    • of the 1,000-1,300 head that go through each shift 500 come from the companies own feedlot.65
  • April Frozen beef shipments to Russia are temporarily suspended from 07/04/2014.81
    • A similar suspension occurred 31/03/2014 for chilled beef.81
    • Temporary suspension of beef offal imports occurred 27/01/2014.81
  • Oakey exports meat to Russia, along with another 29 Australian establishements.81
  • Russia placed new requirements of detection of Trenbolone.81
    • Australia placed additional requirements on its testing requirements.81
    • Russia detected Trenbolone 21/03/2014.81
    • Australian authorities held an immediate meeting with Russian counterparts.81
      • providing details of testing and invited Russia to inspect Australian meat establishments.81
      • Trenbolone is not produced from cattle treated with HGP’s.81
      • Russia has a zero tolerance, most countries have a maximum residue limit.81

 

  • Russia may consider Asia, Chinese port and Indian buffalo meat imports to replace decrease is supplies from the US, European union and Australia.81
  • Australia has been a traditional beef exporter to Russia since the 1970’s.81
    • To July 2012 – June 2013 exported 24,000 tonnes
    • To July 2013 – February 2014 20,000t
    • Trade is worth more than $170M a year
    • Russia is a declining market for Australian beef exports
    • Calendar year to date Russia taken only 1,221t beef
    • Full year exports 2010 and 2011 topped 60,000 tonnes

 

  • June. Currently killing to capacity on a single shift with overtime25
    • Looking to extend production hours in the coming year to service markets25
  • Currently killing 1,200 head per day25
    • 2014 has been a massive year for production25
    • record kill year to 12 months to March25
    • Female component of grasskill component has been close to double normal level in response to drought in supply area.25
      • Mt Isa, Julia Creek and Northern NSW25
    • Normally female kill of grassfed is 35-40% – has been 60-70%25
  • Big cattle numbers have impacted on prices to producers25
  • Oakey marketers able to keep product moving due mature and developing markets25
    • Big 3 – USA, Korea and Japan25
    • China has also been big markets25
  • Nippon Meats Whyalla feedlot account for approximately half of plant’s kill.25
    • Authors note – 600 / day on 5 day kill, 50 weeks operation = 150,000 head25
  • Oakey plant buy up to 95% of cattle on weight basis25
  • July. Oakey abattoir is 2nd only to the Australian Defence force when it comes to employment in the area.27
  • Currently employs 750 people27
    • 3 main catagories of employment27
      1. Administration & Management27
        • Production supervisors, export, shipping, quality assurance, livestock purchasing, export sales, marketing, micro-biology, accounting & environmental management, human resources, laboratory technicians & information technology27
      2. Production and Maintenance27
        • Meat processing roles – salughter, boning, slicing, packing, labour and cleaning.27
      3. Engineering27
    • Lifestyle benefits in meat processing.27
      • Most work start between 5-6.30am – end 2-3pm27
    • Processing facility operates year round except closure over Christmas and New Year27
  • Enterprise bargaining agreement was supported by employees27
    • In principle agreement was reached of EBA 16/07/2014.78
      • Explanatory document was given to employees, which they voted in a secret ballot within 10 days.78
  • $20M investment in infrastructure planned over the next 3 years27
  • Whyalla Beef  feedlot – has 50,000 head capacity supplies half to two thirds of cattle processed at Oakey.27
  • Oakey is currently processing 1,200 head per day for domestic and international markets.27
  • December. Biogas equipment is in the final stages of installation.66
    • 6,000 cubic metre capacity polyester flexible storage ‘balloon’ collects biogas from nearby covered lagoon.66

ABC rural 10.04.2015_edited-1

Oakey abattoir biogas ‘sphere’ Source  ABC Rural 10.04.2015

MLA case study. covered lagoon_edited-1

Covered Anaerobic lagoon that captures the biogas. Source MLA case study – May 2015

2015

  • January. MLA forecast.80
    • Australian cattle herd has gone from 35 year high (2013) to 20 year low (2015).80
    • Australian cattle herd slip to 26.8M head by June 2015.80
      • by 2016 expected decline to 26.5M head.80
      • by 2020 27.9M head.80
    • Adult cattle slaughter expected to slump 15% year on year.80
      • 2015 to 7.8M head.80
      • 2020 expected 7.9M slaughter.80
    • Long term Female average in 2014 52%.80
      • Normally female kill percentage 47%.80
      • Only in years 1977, 1998 & 2003 has female kill been above 50%.80
    • Beef exports record levels in 2014 1.39M tonnes shipped weight.80
      • Expected to drop 20% to 1.3M tonnes in 2015.80
  • February. Whyalla Beef Feedlot is ranked as 3rd largest in Australia according to Beef Central, one-time operating capacity.67
    • One-time operating capacity 56,000 head.67
    • Turnoff in 2014, 178,000 head.67
    • See Years 1988 & 1990 for details of holding capabilities
  • March. Cyclone Marcia cross the Capricornia Coast some plants were damaged.70
    • Supply is exceeding capacity in QLD at this point.70

Cyclone Marcia Feb 2015_edited-1

Impact of Cyclone Marcia February 2015. www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

  • Oakey has re-activated Saturday boning shifts to keep up with high demand and rates of kill.70
  • April. Nippon have invested $100M in Oakey facility since taking ownership in 1987.68
    • Biogas will produce 183.3 gigajoules of energy per day.68
      • represents 40% of the current useage of natural gas.68
    • Annual production will lift from 298,000 to more than 560,000 head.68
    • Staff levels will rise from current 750 to 1,400.68
  • Increase in production proved the need to revitalise the western rail lines to towns such as Quilpie, Charleville, Morven & Roma.68
    • removing cattle trucks from the roads.68
      • easing up supply chain process.68
  • Funding that was applied for under the Gillard government was scrapped under Abbott in 2013.68
    • Project was built without any taxpayer funding.68
  • July. The following charts are from a submission by the Australian government Department of Agriculture to the Senate rural and regional affairs and transport references committee inquiry into Market consolidation and the red meat processing sector.

abattoir capacities dept ag sub consolidation_edited-1

Capacity of major beef abattoirs in QLD. Pg 15

T2 Throughput state beef_edited-1

Share of throughput by state for beef in 2014. Pg 16

T4 processing companies market share_edited-1

Major Processing companies by market share May 2015. Pg 16

M4 direct cattle movements NLIS QLD_edited-1

Cattle Movements to abattoirs. Pg 25

F12 hourly labour costs food manufacturing_edited-1

Hourly labour costs for food manufacturing industry Pg 30

  •  Oakey abattoir wants to access rail services to help increase through-put to 12,000 head a week.72
    • Rail is a critical part of strategy to double weekly kill.72
    • Current employees’s 730 people could be increased.
    • Rail line passes 300m from Oakey abattoir site.72
      • QLD rules don’t permit Oakey to receive cattle by train because there is no rail siding in place
    • Oakey are in advanced negotiations with QLD government to allow rail access
    • Oakey could utilise the rail for outgoing containers
      • currently delivers 100 containers of beef a week to Port of Brisbane
        • Many are underweight due to road limit restrictions
        • Many delivered by road could be moved by rail
  • QLD government currently subsidise Aurizon to provide rail services to rural and regional areas.72
    • restrictions had been placed on producers if they wanted to send cattle via rail they had to book the entire train – 800 hd.72
    • Last 4-5 years cattle rail service has virtually stopped.72
      • 12 years ago Quilpie would see 9 trains loaded a week.72
        • sending 100,000 head annually.72
      • Past 3 years only 5 trains have left Quilpie.72
        • 3 left in 2015.72
      • ‘ghost train’ Aurizon is funded to provide 27 cattle train services a year on the Western rail line
        • Only 7 ran last finanical year (2014/15)
        • Only 2 abattoirs are contracted to receive cattle from the rail JBS Dinmore (QLD) and Teys Beenleigh (QLD)
  • Lack of rail access  has seen large number of cattle drawn south towards abattoirs in Southern Australia.74
    • If rail enables cheaper freight those cattle could be coming back to QLD.74
  • New airport at Wellcamp has opened – 16km from Oakey facility.74
    • enable air-freight access to export customers, Asia & Middle East.74
      • United Arab Emirates is largest destination of air freight from Oakey.74
    • Increased opportunity to market shelf-ready portion controlled product.74
      • Particularly China – large potential growth area
  • Industrial relations progress.74
    • Old agreement meant 7.6hr shifts / 5 days a week with significant penalties for operating outside those restrictions.74
      • Could only operate the plant for 38 hours a week.74
    • New EBA 9.5hr shifts in the boning room and flexibility to move to 7 day operation.74
      • would allow plant capacity to increase to 1,650 per day over 7 days.74
      • length of employment of A grade Slaughterman in Australia was 25 years.74
  • Food safety and shelf life.74
    •  Americans sell their product 60-70 day shelf life.74
    • Australia sells it’s product 140 days.74
  • October. 10 mayors from Southern QLD form a mayoral group to act as a united lobby group for their region.76
  • represent 25% land area of QLD, quarter of QLD cattle and 75% of grain and crop production area.76
    • support the Oakey abattoir push for rail transport improvements.76
    • $2M in State and Federal funding is required to fund new rails sidings.76
      • Federal government feel that private investors should fund the improvements themselves.76
  • Oakey currently process 6,400 head a week.76
    • Announced plans to expand further but rely on the plant’s ability to source greater numbers of cattle.76
    • plans to increase to 11,500 head a week.76
      • add to processor competition in the area.76
    • Only 2 abattoirs are currently contracted to be supplied cattle on the Western line.76. JBS Dinmore (QLD) and Teys Beenleigh (QLD)
      • Oakey is to be added, starting January 2016.76
        • Contractually Oakey can recieve cattle but as they have no rail siding this is not physically possible.76
      • Oakey has to commit to transporting a minimum of 25,000 head per annum by year three.76
      • equates to 28 services per annum.76
        • increasing to 40,000 head after 3 years.76
  • December. ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates.77
    • Data interpretation – Companies do not pay compay tax on revenue (total income) they pay on profits after paying all expenses, including wages, capital replacement, supplier costs and other operating expenses.77
    • Income tax information is for 2013/14.77
  • NH Foods produced Total Income $845,824.273.77
    • Nil taxable income and nil tax payable.77
  •  AACo have animals processed at Eastern abattoirs as service kill.63
  • See year 2013.63
  • Gross processing costs had increased in the 6 months to September 2015.63
    • $1.13 risen to $1.21/kg, 7% increase year on year HCW.63

 

2013_2015_edited-1

QLD Drought Situation 2013 – 2015 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

Sources – Oakey – Toowoomba. Nippon

  1. ‘Meat Processing in Australia’ IBIS World. June 2010
  2. ‘Meat Processing in Australia’ IBIS world. September 2013
  3. ‘Competition and Exit in meat processing’ Agribusiness review. Vol 7. 1999
  4. ‘… And the Beef goes on’ Marel meat news, undated
  5. www.nmpa.com.au
  6. ‘QR stops cattle trains to Oakey abattoir’ QLD Country life. 10.12.2009
  7. ‘Nippon’s hides processing plant closes it doors’ Beef Central 19.03.2012
  8. ‘Industrial action forces six-day Oakey closure’ Beef Central 30.04.2012
  9. ‘Productivity a bone of contention in abattoir strike’ ABC Rural. 01.05.2012
  10. ‘Strike action into 2nd week’ The Chronicle. 05.05.2012
  11. ‘Marchers send message’ Gympie Times. 07.05.2012
  12. ‘Oakey abattoir strike rolls on’ ABC rural 07.05.2012
  13. ‘Meatworkers left in limbo’ The Chronicle 10.05.2012
  14. ‘Meatworkers hope for answers’ Caboolture News 11.05.2012
  15. ‘Hope Oakey abattoir strike could end next week’ ABC rural. 11.05.2012
  16. ‘Fat lazy useless union bosses at it again’ Meat trade News Daily 20.05.2012
  17. ‘Abattoir workers return to work’ The Chronicle 21.05.2012
  18. ‘Critical mass shapes as next PCAS pasturefed program challenge’ www.certifiedpasturefed.com.au 05.09.2013
  19. ‘Weekly kill: Oakey figures highlight 2013’s drought impact’ Beef Central. 22.09.2013
  20. ‘Religious levy costs QLD abattoirs thousands each month’ The Courier mail. 20.10.2013
  21. ‘QLD abattoirs hit with thousands in Halal certification fees’ Food Magazine. 21.10.2013
  22. ‘Oakey abattoir’s world first’ QLD Country life. 07.03.2014
  23. ‘Self funded Oakey methane project looks to slash millions off energy bill’ Beef Central 10.03.2014
  24. ‘Nippon rides it out for long haul’ QLD Countrylife 13.02.2014
  25. ‘Oakey abattoir tips steady production’ QLD Country Life 26.06.2014
  26. ‘Environment: Processing waste water moves from problem to profit’ Beef Central. 28.08.2014
  27. ‘Oakey Beef Exports carves out many career options’ QLD Country Life 31.07.2014
  28. ‘World on a plate – A history of meat processing in Australia’ Stephen Martyn.2014
  29. NH Foods website & history
  30. NH foods OakeyBeef Exports
  31. ‘Abattoir revamp to boost job numbers’ ABC News 08.07.2003
  32. ‘Work begins on big meatworks revamp’ ABC News 16.01.2004
  33. ‘Oakey ire at power cut’ Caboolture News 11.09.2004
  34. ‘Beattie has a bone to pick with detractors’ Caboolture News 04.12.2004
  35. ‘Construction begins on Oakey water plant’ Caboolture News 17.05.2007
  36. ‘QLD smart award for abattoir’ ABC News 08.06.2007
  37. ‘Acid spill forces meatworks evacuation’ ABC News 12.08.2008
  38. ‘Cattle shortage cuts abattoir production’ Caboolture News 15.11.2008
  39. ‘Don’t say boo’ Caboolture News 14.08.2010
  40. ‘Victim faces claims of bullying’ Caboolture News 08.10.2010
  41. ‘Worrying time after abattoir shuts’ Caboolture News 31.03.2011
  42. ‘Booing meatworkers reinstated’ Caboolture News 28.06.2011
  43. ‘Caualties emerging as export kill pressure continues’ Beef Central 25.07.2011
  44. ‘Top chefs tour abattoir’ Caboolture News 05.08.2011
  45. ‘Where are all the cattle’ Beef Central 16.08.2011
  46. ‘Open day showcases Oakey facility’ Beef Central 31.08.2011
  47. ‘Kill rates edge upwards, despite flat meat demand’ Beef Central 12.09.2011
  48. ‘Slow season opening for processors’ Beef Central 11.01.2012
  49. ‘ABARES foreign owner processing assessment underwhelming’ Beef Central 20.01.2012
  50. ‘Weather disruptions unlikely to stimulate sustained price lift’ Beef Central 31.01.2012
  51. ‘Meatworkers stage walkout’ ABC News 30.04.2012
  52. ‘Striking meatworkers’ demand reasonable’ ABC News 01.05.2012
  53. ‘Uncertainty surrounds meatworkers’s return to work’ ABC News 04.05.2012
  54. ABARES foreign ownership 2011
  55. ‘Strike action into second week’ Caboolture News 05.05.2012
  56. ‘Meatworkers to decide on new enterprise deal’ ABC News 14.05.2012
  57. ‘Meatworkers return to work after pay deal struck’ ABC News 21.05.2012
  58. ‘Abattoir workers return to work’ Caboolture News 21.05.2012
  59. ‘Manufacturing skills award to Oakey staffmember’ Beef Central 23.05.2012
  60. ‘Award win a huge honour’ Caboolture News 24.05.2012
  61. ‘Oakey Abattoir’s world environmental initiative’ CST wastewater solutions
  62. ‘QLD kill eases 6%, but not for any supply reasons’ Beef Central 05.11.2012
  63. ‘AACo’s Darwin abattoir projected to be strong finanical performer’ Beef Central 18.03.2013
  64. ‘Dark clouds loom for start to 2014 slaughter season’ Beef Central 14.01.2014
  65. ‘Beef plant to halve energy costs by turning cattle waste into biogas’ The Courier-Mail 09.03.2014
  66. ‘Oakey’s biogas sphere delivers greener credentials, energy savings’ Beef Central 10.12.2014
  67. ‘Top 25 Lotfeeders: No 3 Whyalla Beef’ Beef Central 18.02.2015
  68. ‘Biogas plant fuels Oakey abattoir expansion’ Caboolture News 10.04.2015
  69. ‘The new biogas plant at Oakey Beef Exports in Oakey, Southern QLD’ ABC Rural 10.04.2015
  70. ‘Cyclone impact reflected in lower tally’ Beef Central 03.03.2015
  71. MLA case study – Waste to Energy technology May 2015
  72. ‘SW QLD abattoir pushes for more rail services for cattle’ ABC Rural 22.07.2015
  73. Dept Ag. Submission to Market consolidation and the red meat processing sector July 2015
  74. Oakey on track with rail, air plans’ Beef Central 04.09.2015
  75. ‘Agriculturally rich councils join to form lobby group’ Caboolture News 19.10.2015
  76. ‘$2M only barrier to better rail access for cattle’ Beef Central 20.10.2015
  77. ‘ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates’ Beef Central 18.12.2015
  78. www.amieuqld.asn.au – negotiations oakey
  79. MLA Top 25 Red Meat Processors
  80. ‘MLA forecasts beef market adjustment’ The Land 27.01.2015
  81. ‘Update on Russia’s suspension on Australian beef’ Beef Central 03.04.2014
  82. AUS-MEAT Accreditation Listing 29.12.2015

Bowen

Other Names

  • Bowen Freezing works
  • Merinda abattoir

Current Operation

  • Closed 19972
    • Other articles cite closure as 1996.4

Location   

  • Merinda – 6 miles from Bowen          

Australia. Bowen

Map BowenHema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.

Owner

  • Bergl (Australia) Ltd3
  • Thomas Borthwick & Son – owned 5-6 abattoirs in Australia (1933)3
  • AMH (1986)2
  • Nippon Meats (Japanese) purchased 1989.4
  • Nippon Meat Packers6
    • Subsidiary of a Japanese Multinational
    • Nippon meat packers incorporated 19786
  • products_edited-1Source Nippon Meat Packers Australia interactive beef products

    This is a great diagram that is able to be clicked on in the Nippon website and illustrates where the various cuts of beef and offal are located in the animals bodies

  •  Nippon currently own 3 operating abattoirs in Australia ( as at 2016)

Operation          

  • Purchased stock from Western QLD & NT

History of Bowen Meatworks

1890’s

  • Recognition that the export trade of meat needs to be developed for the economic benefit of Australian producers (Pg 1041).9
    • Existing low values are due to fact that half to one third of surplus meat is exported.9
    • Should be exporting 250,000 to 300,000 carcases of beef.9
    • £1M pounds is required to construct meatworks.9
    • If not constructed £10M pounds could be added to existing capital of the banks and still their securities would be unprofitable(Pg 1042).9
  • Parliament develope “The Meat and Dairy Produce Encouragement Act”(Pg 1042).9
    • Levy imposed on both cattle and sheep.9
    • 2 funds .9
      1. Dairying herds
      2. Beef herds
    • Fund allows for establishment of meatworks at.9
      • Pinkenba
      • Bowen
      • Redbank
      • Cardwell
      • Broadsound
      • Gladstone
      • Brisbane
      • Charleville
      • Mackay
      • Biboohra (Mareeba)
      • Burketown and
      • Sellheim

1894

  • Operation was started by local cattlemen.11
    • Cattle were selling for as low as 30/ per head.11
    • Only in operation for one year.11
  • Bergl purchased
    • Had connections with Houlden Bros – Boats known as Grange Line.11
  • Works employed 200-400 men.11
  • Killed an average of 15,000 cattle per annum.11
    • the best year being 30,000 head.11

1905

  • Bergl Australia acquire the small plant, at this time known as Merinda.9
    • Prior to this had been by Bowen Meat Export and Agency Co.10

1919

  • In operation

1932

  • November. Bowen works is purchased by Borthwick’s with the intention of commencement of export operations in 1933.11
  • Borthwicks had been operating Burdekin meatworks previous 2-3 years.11
    • have not continued with the lease.11
  • Prior to Borthwicks purchase the Bowen meatworks had been idle for sometime.11
    • Bergl had installed modern machinery in the previous year.11
    • Bergl did not intend to carry on in QLD.11
  • Borthwicks had obtained prominent army contracts.11
    • In 1923 securing bulk of the war office yearly contract of 6,000 tonnes for home command.11

1933

  • Borthwick & Son purchased. Rebuilt and made extensions.3

Thomas Borthwick_edited-1Source – QLD National State Library. #137304
Thomas Borthwick & Sons Freezing works. Undated

1941

  • Oil stove used to heat bitumen to seal cork insulation in the storage section caught fire3
  • Was 800t of meat in the store at the time.3
  • 300 employees killing 376 cattle a day for export

Bown - fire_edited-1Source QLD National Library. #137256
Thomas Borthwick & Sons Freezing works

1958

  • Slaughter processing peak 58,500 head.10

1960’s  

  • Closed overnight – Lord Borthwick unable to meet demands of unions and strikes1

1963

  • Is currently registered as a meat export works (Pg 314).5
    • Proprietor – Thos. Borthwick & Sons (A/Asia) Ltd

1980’s

  • The Australian beef trading/processing environment is worsening(Pg 119).5
    • QLD Cattle herd in 1975 was 14M head.5
      • QLD Cattle herd in 1987 is 9M.5
    • There is low utilisation rates through meatworks and the need to reduce the number the meatworks is seen to improve efficency and reduce operational costs (Pg 120).5

1983

  • Federal Industries Assistance Commission produce a report that reveals the Australian meat processing industry has 38% excess capacity (Pg 126).7

1986 

  • April. Joint Venture Proposal is begun to amalgamate.7
    • FJ Walkers (Owned by Elders IXL)
      • Already own 10 abattoirs, including 4 key export works and meat packing plants in Australia (Pg 119).5
    • Metro Meat Industries
    • Smorgon Consolidated Industries
    • Tancred Bros
    • Thomas Borthwick & Sons
      • Borthwicks to add their plants of Mackay (QLD) and Bowen.7
  • Wide spread concern of potential domination of the QLD beef market by the merger entity (Pg 127).7
  • May. Trade Practices Commission (TPC) holds a investigation.7
  • June. TPC announce will not place legal impediment to the merger.7
  • July. Borthwicks  withdraw from talks(pg 120).5
    • Borthwicks had operation problems of it’s own and wanted to sell all Australian assets including hides and skin processing not just jewels of Bowen and Mackay.5
    • Portland (Vic) would be particularly difficult to sell due to union unrest.5

1987

  • Is listed in Aus-Meat Accreditation List as Establisment #723.8
    • Borthwick. T & Sons Ltd.

1988 

  • January. Teys Brothers are in discussion with Borthwick to purchase Borthwick Australian assets and a Japanese branch of the company (Pg 121).5
  • Teys had been in a joint venture with Canada Packers (Pg 121).5
    • Canada Packers withdrew from the joint venture which influenced Teys to seek financial backing from Kerry Packer in bidding for the Borthwick assets
    • Purchase price $25M Australian
  • AMH saw the ‘new entrant’, Teys as a threat to AMH’s ability to remain profitable and achieve further rationalisation in the northern region (Pg 122).5
  • AMH commented that Borthwick operations were the main price competition in QLD (Pg 122).5
    • If Borthwicks not in the market AMH would earn $10 a head more per animal.5
  • AMH offered Borthwicks $29M for Australian Assets (Pg 122)
  • TPC advised AMH not to proceed without their consultation as they would likely contravene Sec 50 Trade Practices Act and likely dominate the QLD cattle market (Pg 123).5
  • TPC placed an injunction for AMH to withdraw offer (Pg 123).5
    • AMH resisted arguing the the order would likely allow Teys to purchase without actual determination of contravention of section 50.5
    • AMH  offered undertaking that Borthwicks business’s would be maintained and conducted independently and in competition with the business of AMH.5
    • TPC accepted but possible divestiture order was of significant commercial risk to AMH.5
      • TPC announced an inquiry was to be held.5
    • Borthwicks sale to AMH was accepted 26/01/1988
  • Borthwick Hides and skins business were immediately sold.5
  • All remaining parts of Borthwicks were combined with AMH
  • February. TPC begins inquiry.5
    • TPC accepts that northern QLD is a seperate market to central and southern QLD.5
    • AMH control 5 of the 10 abattoirs in the region.5
  • Bowen abattoir could lift total regional slaughter capacity to over 76.76%.5
  • TPC ruled AMH had contravened section 50.5
    • Ruling was AMH must divest itself of Bowen & Mackay
      • Could retain control of Portland (pg 128).7
    • 3 months to do so
    • appeals and cross appeals conducted.
  • Trade Practices Commission forced sale due to AMH having dominant market share.2
  • March. TPC final judgement ruling on AMH case (Pg 123).5
    • Case is held as precedent on what constitutes the geographical limits of a product market
  • While the court case was in process AMH had been operating the plants(Pg 123).5
    • Profits from them had been above market expectations.5
    • Bowen was of marginal importance
    • Mackay was significant because of the access to lucrative Japanes market (Pg 128).7
  • AMH offered QLD plants to Anglo Irish $32M (Pg 124).5
    • initially Anglo Irish accepted but revalued plants at considerably less and withdrew from the deal
  • TPC increased pressure on AMH to sell plants (pg 124).5
    • If AMH didn’t sell them TPC would put plants up for public auction at market price
  • Nippon Meat Packers, in consortium with Mackay Sugar to purchase the Bowen and Mackay plants (Pg 123,86).5
    • reported $32M

1996

  • Closed as part of Industry rationalisation.4

1997  

  • Closed.2

1998

  • March. Petition – Abattoirs,  presented to Parliament – 1,248 signatures. requesting4
    1. Revoke export licence for the Nippon Meat abattoirs at Mackay and Merinda: and4
    2. initiate a review of foreign investment guidelines in Australia to ensure that multi-national companies investing in Australia are bound by a code of conduct which protects the interests of all stakeholders, and not just overseas stakeholders.4

Sources

  1. Facebook KBS 16.01.13
  2. ‘Northern Australian Beef Industry – Assessment of opportunities and risks’ ABARE 2012
  3. ‘Fire Damages Bowen meat works’ Courier Mail 05.07.41
  4. House of Representatives Petition. Abattoirs. 09.03.1998.
  5. ‘World on a plate – A history of meat processing in Australia’ Stephen Martyn
  6. ‘Meat Processing in Australia’ IBIS World. June 2010
  7. ‘Employers & Industrial Relations in the Australian Meat Processing Industry’ J OLeary 2008
  8. ‘Aus-Meat Accreditation list November 1987
  9. QLD beef industry 1962. pdf
  10. ‘Triumph in the Tropics’ www.oesr.qld.gov.au 1959
  11. ‘Purchased by Borthwicks’ www.trove.nla.au 28.11.1932

Dinmore

Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation registration dated 29/12/2015 #235 – JBS Australia Pty Ltd (Dinmore).13
    • registered as a Beef, Offal export facility.13
  • Direct employment enquiries to www.jbssa.com.au  

Location              

  • South east QLD
  • 40 km west of Brisbane. 9km east of Ipswich

 Owner

  • AMH (1999)4
    JBS Australia

Operation          

  • Export – Beef, Offal1
  • (1999) Nominal capacity 625,000hd per 50 weeks4
  • Slaughtering, boning, packaging, by-products rendering and hide processing
  • Spent 10’s Millions $ over past 10 years on environmental/sustainability projects, in areas like water treatment, establishing excellent performance creditials in the environmental area2
  • “Site operates with arguably the most stringent environmental license conditions on waste water management, motor and other noise abatement of any meat plant in Australia”2.

Dinmore photo. _edited-1Source 2007 Feedback MLA

Other historical and current meat processing facilities located in Australia can be viewed at;

Australian abattoirs inactive map

abattoirs_edited-1

History of Dinmore #235

1990

8. ABARES Nov 2011_edited-1

Proportion of cattle slaughtered by ownership of abattoirs 1990
Source ABARES foreign ownership 2011 Pg 31

1991

  • 77 Beef export Abattoirs are in operation in Australia at this time.19
    • 27 have some level of foreign ownership.19
    • Ownership dominated by Japan, UK and the US.19

1996

  • AMH intend to spend $50M upgrading Dinmore as part of $90M capital investment program across six Australian operations6
    • AMH controlled by big US rural commodities trader – ConAgra, a major exporter from North America6
    • AMH accounts for 16.5% of Australia’s beef kill.6
      • currently owns another 8 facilities but will be consolidating to 5 and closing Beaudesert (QLD), Guyra and Portland (Vic)7
        • others owned Dinmore, Townsville, Rockhampton and Aberdeen6
            • Author note – not sure of 8th.
        • Intended that 300 jobs would be replaced at Dinmore when expansion completed there6

1999 

  • AMH owned at this point4
  • Is the largest plant in QLD at this point.

2005

  • Significant regions of drought across QLD.

QLD Drought 2003_2005_edited-1

Queensland drought situation 2003 – 2005 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

2007_2009_edited-1

Queensland drought situation 2007 – 2009 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

2010  

  • Will drop from 11 to 9 shifts over a 5 day week this year in light of the livestock supply and demand challenges3
  • Between Townsville and Dinmore plant 430 people laid off.8
  • Dinmore current operating capacity 3,300 head a day.10
    • Mainly to Export 75% – Japan, US, Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.10
  • Dinmore employs approximately 2,000 workers.10
    • About 1,700 work in production roles across 2 shifts Monday to Friday.10
    • The remainder are cleaning, maintenance and head office functions.10
    • Most Employees are male 70% employed and full-time casuals.10
    • Around 20% are from overseas – 457 Visa’s China and Brazil.10
    • 5 year EBA is currently in place, no piecework incentives provided.10
    • most workers said to be be union members.10
      • walking delegate employed on site.10
    • Company has strong internal promotion culture aimed at increasing retention.10

IBIS Jun 2010_edited-1

Major Companies in the Australian Red meat processing industry

Source IBIS world June 2010

2011

  • January. Devastating floods across Central and southern QLD and large parts of NSW and Victoria.21
    • affected slaughter numbers to abattoirs.21
  • July.National slaughter rates decline 5%.22
    • Australian currency pressures.22
      • A$ is now above US108c.22
      • economic news out of US could send currency even higher.22
      • higher A$ would cripple Australia’s already limited price competitiveness for beef in international markets.22
    • QLD which does approximately half of Australia’s processing capacity.22
      • Down 8% from the previous week.22
      • lowest kill recorded in QLD in July for past decade.22
      • Down 21% on same period last year.22
      • Significant number of QLD plants only killing 3-4 days.22
    • listless export beef demand.22
    • Meat processing and export is low-margin business due to.22
      • Import duties.22
        • Indonesia 9%.22
        • Korea 40%.22
        • Japan 38%.22
      • New AQIS charges on meat inspection would add millions to processor costs.22
    • Is currently a big build up of meat in cold stores due to difficulty in selling into sluggish markets, Japan and the US.22

7. ABARES Nov 2011_edited-1

Red Meat throughput Australian abattoirs, Foreign and Australian owned 2011 Source ABARES foreign ownership 2011 Pg 29

2012  

  • Govt. grant $4.4M with JBS own $4.4M upgrade its waste water treatment system, installing new pre-treatment equipment and covered anaerobic lagoon technology2.
  • Company’s carbon tax liability was expected to cost $3.5M yr,($23/t) project will save $1M in energy costs and cut liability each year by $790,000.
  • Still doesn’t place Dinmore plant below 25,000t threshold, to get below that would cost a further $16M.

2013

  • “JBS is in the process of supporting the transition of it’s 457 workforce to permanent residency”5
  • 457’s residency requires certain level of english speaking, International English language testing system level 5. – often above the level meat workers most parts of world can reach5
  • Recently completed a $50M upgrade employing most modern techonology available to ensure maximum efficency and consistency of the quality of the product9
  • Employees 235 people9
  • Daily processing 3,350 beef or 1,675 head per shift9
  • November. JBS Swift Australia install closed-circuit television camera’s (CCTV) in it’s Australian meatworks.16
    • For the purpose of animal welfare and meatworker safety issues.16
    • CCTV for internal use by only JBS, with no plans to allow outsiders to view the footage.16
  • JBS’s US beef division (which includes Australia) delivered drop in net sales and earnings in it’s third quarter financial results.17
    • Australia’s division performance and overall contribution to the overall result is impossible to distinguish due to inclusion with US and Canadian beef processing results.17
    • Earnings before tax $134M,.17
      • Down by 22.5% on previous quarter.17
      • Down by 28.4% on third quarter last year.17
    • result reflection of domestic North American markets.17
      • Improved performance had occured in Australian.17
        • Demand had increased in Chinese markets.17

2014

 

  • July. JBS Australia purchase majority shareholding in NSW based Andrew Meat.15
    • specialise in high quality, portion cutting and further processing of meats for domestic and international restaurant and foodservice customers.15
    • produce ready-cooked meals.15
    • company banner Creative Food Solutions.15
    • Andrew Meat will allow JBS expansion into high growth retail and value-adding segments.15
  • Expansion of the Andrew Meats business will start in November .18
    • JBS global strategy to expand into value added meat protein – opportunity to expand margins.18
    • JBS have an existing value-added division – Food Partners.18
      • supplies food service customers like Pizza Hut and Domino’s with toppings.18
    • Andrew Meats focus will be produce ready meals.18
      • ‘grab & go’ beef roasts, designed to compete head on with hot cabinet roast chickens sold in supermarkets.18
      • Domestic markets were very immature but also with significant growth potential.18
  • At this time JBS operate.15
    • 10 processing facilities.15
      • Daily processing capacity of more than 8,000 cattle and 21,000 small stock.15
    • 5 feedlots.15
  • December. JBS currently operate 12 meat processing plants across 5 Australian states11
    • Wages & local procurement $730M (Excluding livestock purchases)11
    • Employs 8,500 people at the facilities11
      • Employs 12,000 people in Australia11
    • Total revenue of $6.5B11
  • JBS plants 2014_edited-1

    JBS processing plants in Australia

    Source JBS submission #50 Market Consolidation.

    • JBS estimates its current share of four eastern states beef kill – 20% (excludes service kill)11
      • JBS share of Australian beef production 16%11
      • Market share of national small (lamb, mutton & goat) 16%
    • JBS spent $2.4M on halal certification costs of approved religious certifiers in 20142

    2015

    • January. MLA forecast.20
      • Australian cattle herd has gone from 35 year high (2013) to 20 year low (2015).20
      • Australian cattle herd slip to 26.8M head by June 2015.20
        • by 2016 expected decline to 26.5M head.20
        • by 2020 27.9M head.20
      • Adult cattle slaughter expected to slump 15% year on year.20
        • 2015 to 7.8M head.20
        • 2020 expected 7.9M slaughter.20
      • Long term Female average in 2014 52%.20
        • Normally female kill percentage 47%.20
        • Only in years 1977, 1998 & 2003 has female kill been above 50%.20
      • Beef exports record levels in 2014 1.39M tonnes shipped weight.20
        • Expected to drop 20% to 1.3M tonnes in 2015.20
    • March. Foreign ownership of Australian red meat processing facilities
    • Nippon share_edited-1

      Share of Australian red meat processing

      Source The Stock Standard. VFF March 2015

 

  • March. Cyclone Marcia cross the Capricornia Coast some plants were damaged.70
    • Supply is exceeding capacity in QLD at this point.70

Cyclone Marcia Feb 2015_edited-1

Impact of Cyclone Marcia February 2015. www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

  • June. Cost of processing in Australia 1.5-3 times the cost of processing animals in another country11
  • cost of processing grain-fed cattle in Australia is twice of the USA11
    • lower levels of productivity in Australia in regards to kg per unit of labour11
    • 2 major differences between Australia and the USA11
      1. Government regulation
        • $10 a head more in Australia11
        • Dept. of Australian Agriculture fully recover costs of meat export inspection and certification11
          • Australia wide DAFF costs $80M11
          • JBS contribute $14.5M11
        • Export plants don’t use DAFF but use approved employees, which plants fully cover costs11
          • JBS estimate an additional $30M at Export level11
        • USA & Brazil governments provide services at no or minimal costs to processors11
      2. Energy Costs
        • $15 a head more in Australia11
    • Technical barriers to trade (TBT’s)- Total value in Australia estimated at $1.25B as identified costs11
      • 261 TBT’s in 40 key markets11
        • 136 have significant trade distortion impacts11
  • July. The following charts are from a submission by the Australian government Department of Agriculture to the Senate rural and regional affairs and transport references committee inquiry into Market consolidation and the red meat processing sector.
  • abattoir capacities dept ag sub consolidation_edited-1
    • Capacity of major beef abattoirs in QLD. Pg 15

      T2 Throughput state beef_edited-1

      Share of throughput by state for beef in 2014. Pg 16

      T4 processing companies market share_edited-1

      Major Processing companies by market share May 2015. Pg 16

      M4 direct cattle movements NLIS QLD_edited-1

      Cattle Movements to abattoirs. Pg 25

      F12 hourly labour costs food manufacturing_edited-1

      Hourly labour costs for food manufacturing industry Pg 30

October. 10 mayors from Southern QLD form a mayoral group to act as a united lobby group for their region.24

  • represent 25% land area of QLD, quarter of QLD cattle and 75% of grain and crop production area24
    • support the Oakey abattoir push for rail transport improvements.24
    • $2M in State and Federal funding is required to fund new rails sidings.24
      • Federal government feel that private investors should fund the improvements themselves.24
      • will add to processor competition in the area.24
  • Only 2 abattoirs are currently contracted to be supplied cattle on the Western line.24 JBS Dinmore (QLD) and Teys Beenleigh (QLD)
    • Oakey is to be added, starting January 2016.24
      • Contractually Oakey can recieve cattle but as they have no rail siding this is not physically possible.24

 

  • AACo have animals processed at Eastern abattoirs as service kill.23
    • See year 2013.23
    • Gross processing costs had increased in the 6 months to September 2015.23
      • $1.13 risen to $1.21/kg, 7% increase year on year HCW.23

 

 

  • December. ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates.12
    • Data interpretation – Companies do not pay company tax on revenue (total income) they pay on profits after paying all expenses, including wages, capital replacement, supplier costs and other operating expenses.12
    • Income tax information is for 2013/14.12
    • JBS Holdco Australia Pty Ltd produced Total Income $4,040,948,610.12
      • Taxable Income $419,882,525.12
        • Tax Payable $44,809,334.12

2013_2015_edited-1

QLD Drought Situation 2013 – 2015 www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au

 

Sources for Dinmore QLD. JBS

  1. AUS-MEAT Accreditation list 14.01.13
  2. ‘JBS offered $4.4M grant for Dinmore carbon abatement project’ Beef Central 04.02.13
  3. ‘Abattoirs under stress’ Beef Central 22.02.10
  4. Competition and exit in Meat Processing Agribusiness review Vol 7 1999
  5. ‘JBS to help 457 workers to Aussie residency’ Ipswich QLD 02.03.13
  6. ‘US beef exporters force three abattoirs to close’ SMH 15.05.1996
  7. ‘Guyra abattoir closure’ Mr Raymond Chappell 15.05.96 www.parliment.nsw.gov
  8. ‘Australia: Union shuts down picket of locked out meatworkers’ www.wsws.org. 28.12.2010
  9. www.jbsswift.com.au. Accessed 13.11.2013
  10. Work-skills-and-training-2301-1
  11. sub50_JBS Inquiry into the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector
  12. ‘ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates’ Beef Central 18.12.2015
  13. AUS-MEAT Accreditation Listing 29.12.2015
  14. ‘Big Beef producer cuts deal with Tasman group’ The Age 06.03.2008
  15. ‘JBS takes stake in Andrews Meat’ www.farmonline.com.au 09.07.2014
  16. ‘Swift CCTV camera action’ Weekly Times 13.11.2013
  17. ‘JBS delivers lower third quarter beef sales, revenue’ Beef Central 14.11.2013
  18. ‘What’s behind JBS taking a big stake in Andrews Meat Value adding Businnes? Beef Central 10.07.2014
  19. ABARES foreign ownership 2011
  20. ‘MLA forecasts beef market adjustment’ The Land 27.01.2015
  21. ‘Slow season opening for processors’ Beef Central 11.01.2012
  22. ‘Caualties emerging as export kill pressure continues’ Beef Central 25.07.2011
  23. ‘AACo’s Darwin abattoir projected to be strong finanical performer’ Beef Central 18.03.2013
  24. ‘$2M only barrier to better rail access for cattle’ Beef Central 20.10.2015

Cairns

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. Began to export in 1950’s closing in 1989

Number of photographs kindly supplied by the Cairns Historical Society, a museum and library operated by volunteers.

Other names

  •  Queerah

Current Operation

  • Closed 19861
  • Others say 19894

P08210 (2)Source – Cairns Historical Society, 1952. Photo PO8210
The Cairns Meatworks

Location             

  • Skelton Creek, Cairns

Australia. Cairns. jpg

Map. Cairns 001Source – Hema Maps. Australia Truckies Atlas.

Owner                 

  • Amagraze. Director Fred Beaver (1962)3
  • AMH

Operation          

  • Export1
  • Nominal Capacity 110,000hd per 50 weeks1

History                

 1950

Queerah 1950.Source Cairns Regional Council. Dated 1950

Queerah Meatworks

  • Begun to export early 1950’s4

 1960’s 

  • 1st loading 6th June 1960.Ships – Irene Clauser ,  Inger Clausen – coasters – length of 50m, shallow draft, carry 200-250hd1
  • Clara Clauser – specifically built for Gulf trade, larger but shallower draft of only 1.8m, carry 800-1000hd1
  • Involved in shipping cattle Gulf of Carpentaria around Cape to Cairns, otherwise cattle had to be walked 3500km to east coast, ships took 5 days1
  • Burketown, Karumba & Normanton – shipping from these regions to Bowen and Cairns. Govt paid a 3 pound freight subsidy3
  • Earlier service operated by barge Wewak, owned by Marine contracting and towing company1pg 72

p04059 (2)Source – Cairns Historical society. 1963. PO4059
Winners of the Queerah meatwoeks carcass competition Cairns Show

1962 

  • Isla Clauser – replaced Inger Clauser  and Irene Clauser, to be replaced by Ida Clauser3
  • At this time Cairns (Queerah) was most modern meatworks in the southern hemisphere5
    • Had first continuous chain – carcase kept moving along the line, once it started5
  • July. Meatworkers strike5
    • 13 boners including union president had been sacked for go-slow5
    • Industrial commission and Conciliation commission directed men’s re-employment as boners – they were but with union predisent as a trimmer, reducing wage by half5
    • Company refused to give preference to union workers of  AMIEU5
    • Union called stop work. – 41 employees including union president dismissed5
  • 100 graziers moved in to keep works operating – came from Cape York, Gulf, Hughenden, Alpha and Warwick5
    • mainly used to bone due to backlog of meat5
  • Boners earning 60-65 pounds a week, strike wanted 5 more5
  • Strike went for about 10 days5

1970’s

  • Cairns Harbour board Installed large Freezers at the Number 1 wharf to store meat in cartons for direct loading to the ship4

p04048 (2)Source – Cairns Historical Society. c1970

Loading export meat from the Queerah meatworks at Cairns wharf

1975

  • Ida Clauser supported Gulf trade to about this year3
  • Clara Clauser – larger, shallow draft built specifically to navigate shallow north Australian rivers3.

1980

  • Over capacity of the meat processing sector had always been a chronic problem, but where previously it was due to seasonal factors now the problem was a direct result of management decisions during the late 1970’s (Pg 85, thesis)5

    • Chronic over capacity, undersupply of cattle and oversupply of labour requirements (Pg 117, thesis)5
    • Processing sector shed 15,000 jobs between 1980-1984 (Pg 117, thesis)5
      Entire export sector was regulated by the speed and skill of the production process (The chain and CanPak killing systems), bureaucratic control systems regulated the substantive and procedural rules (The tally and awards)(Pg 120, thesis)5
    • the only way forward for employers was rationalisation of the production capacity (Pg 120, thesis)5

1986

  • Australian Meat Holdings (AMH) – Four largest meat processors in Australia had decided to combine their resources(Pg 126, thesis)5
    • FJ Walkers (Wholly owned by Elders)5
    • Metro Meat Industries5
    • Smorgon Consolidated Industries5
    • Tancred Brothers5
      • combined assets $90M (Pg 127, thesis)5
      • Plan was to combine resources of QLD meat processing facilities, take over Mackay (then owned by Borthwicks) and Bowen plants. Establish the most suitable operating capacity for the new entity and then rationalise the remaining excess capacity (Pg 126 thesis)5
      • Borthwicks latter withdrew from talks but was latter taken over by AMH in 1987 (Pg 128, thesis)5
  • AMH principal objective was to rationalise capacity of its 9 abattoirs, so the remaining plants would operate near full capacity (Pg 128, thesis)5
    • two older plants immediately decomissioned (Pg 128, thesis)5
      • Authors note – think Cairns  and Cape River abattoir (QLD) were two of these plants.
      • By 1996 AMH had closed 5 of the 9 plants.(Pg 128, thesis)5

1989

  • Closed4

Sources

  1. Competition & Exit in Meat Processing. Agribusiness review Vol 7 1999
  2. ‘100 years of Northern Beef Production’ Nth QLD register 22.11.12
  3. ‘The Australian Live Export Trade’ Nigel Austin.
  4. Cairns Historical Society.
  5. Employers & Industrial Relations in the Australian Meat processing Industry. P. O’Leary 2008
  6. ‘Queerah Meatworks strike’ North QLD register 17.10.2013

Ross River

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 collapsed in 1994, facility closed in 1995. Site now developed as a residential site with only the chimney still remaining as a historic site.

Other names

  • Ross River meatworks

Current Operation

  • Closed 19951

 Location             

   Australia. Ross River         

            

Owner                 

  • Built by QLD meat export and Agency (QME) – Principal Sir Thomas Mcllwraith, QLD Premier2
    • QME was a government operated organisation
  • Vesteys purchased 19556
  • Smorgons6

Operation

  • Export
  • Nominal Capacity 120,000hd per 50 weeks1

Other abattoirs in the region

Pentland (QLD)

Townsville – Stuart (QLD

 

 

History of Ross River abattoir               

  • Initially was a major exporter for Townsville region
  • Meatworks chimney still stands today, restored

1866

  • Boiling works began operation 1 kilometre downstream from latter site of Ross River meatworks5
    • Boiled down tallow was selling in Sydney 46 shillings cwt, hides 16 shillings5
    • Gold discoveries forced works to close due to lack of stock supply5
    • closed 18705
  • Initial workforce of 7006

1882

  • Built and cost to build £75,0004
  • June. Started operation.5
  • Processing 80 head cattle day
  • used gravitational system, animal killed on one floor and then meat processed in others4
  • Wharf couldn’t handle the ships to transport frozen meat and a coastal steamer had to be modified to convey meat from wharf to ship.5
  • Operating company of meatworks imposed strict conditions on delivery of cattle, requiring animals to be delivered on particular days or suffer5

1890

  • QLD meat export and Agency co formed(Pg 47)8
    • Sir Thomas Milwraith & John Cooke, floated company with 1M pound8
    • Agents in London – Messrs. W Weddel and Co8
    • 5 year freight contract with Houlder Bros & co, for conveyance of 1200t meat per month8
    • Company formed to give graziers markets in the Old World (England) for their suplus cattle8
  • Plans submitted to build meatworks in Brisbane & Townsville.5

1891

  • Construction began – 6 acres freehold5
  • Was considered one of the best factories of the time with freezers and used electricity for lighting (Townsvilled didn’t have household electricity until 1923)5
  • When designed used a system of dry air compression, this was replaced with ammonia compression and air circulating batteries a few years latter (Pg 49)8
  • First industrial dispute before even began work5
    • Contractor (McCallum Park) v’s carpenters  – McCallums only wanted to pay 10 shillings a day, 2 shillings below going rate5
  • Industrial disputes would mark next 100 years of operation5

1897

  • Was receiving complaints about the effluent being pumped into the river after relocation of manure shed, rudimentary digestors installed that produced fertiliser and sold to locals5

1900’s

  • Mr Charles Harford – In charge at the time over a period of 13 years – Ross River abattoir was the most up to date abattoir he had seen4.
  • In reference to Ross River “In order to combat the exorbitant demands of labour it was necessary to use as much labour-saving machinery as possible”4
  • Costs – Total cost for yarding, killing and other handling as well as dealing with offal and by products was £1/3p per head for cattle and £18 per 100 sheep. Quoted in 1914 “..but the work could not be done at that price now”4
  • “One man knocked down 520 cattle in a day of eight hours”4
  • Difficulties arose in meat marketing – with competition form

site _edited-1Source – ‘A history of the frozen meat trade’. Critchell & Raymond. 1912.
Photo is undated Titled. QLD meat export and Agency company Limited. Ross River works Townsville.

1903

  • Cyclone Leonta hit Townsville on 9th March 1903. Causing widespread devastation. Many buildings at the Ross River meatworks were unroofed or demilished15

1910

  • Half of Freezing capacity was fitted with direct expansion piping, so effective the remaining freezing block was outfitted the following season as large expenditure (Pg 49)8

Prior to 1912 report

  • Manager Robert Stewart (Pg 48)8
  • A controlling holding in the company was purchased by G.S Yuill & co (London based)8
  • Ross River (then known as Ross Creek works) had recent upgrades and refitting.(Pg 48)8
    • Made the works the most up-to-date freezing works in the existance in either hemisphere (pg 48)8
    • Original freezing machinery plant ( air circulating batteries) and other equipment discarded.(Pg 48)8
    • New freezing and electric plant being erected with new steam engines, both for electric and freezing services – supply 220 lbs pressure through triple expansion, supplied by mechanically fired boilers and coal supply .(Pg 48)8
  • Ross River works, coal was expensive, water supply limited and drainage difficult – improvements now made the render at the works second to none for economy and convenience in working (pg 49)8

1917

  • Companies who operated meatworks asked Arbitration court to regulate wages and conditions in the industry to replace direct bargaining with the unions7

1919

  • company had won an court order in previous year to delete ‘union preference clause’ from the award wages system6
    • Clause had been in effect since 19117
  • February – More than 700 meatworkders resolved to declare works black6
    • AMIEU membership was 2442,largest branch at Ross River of 756 members7
    • 500 cattle released from stockyard and water posioned6
      • Cattle deliberatly released by protestors, ring leaders arrested. Supporters after speeches and drinking broke into a gunshop before marching on the watch house9
      • Violent clash between police and unionists. Trouble stemmed from long standing industrial unrest  between meat companies and AMIEU19.
        • Area was besiged by unemployment and economic depression19
        • Unrest degenerated into a riot with shots fired – 9 people injured, seven as a result of police bullets19
        • Townsville remained in a state of siege for weeks19
  • June – strike declared “Only meatworkers responded; all other unions voted to stay on the job. When the strike began about 80 ‘scabs’ were employed. By mid-August more than 300 were working, including AMIEU members who had dribbled back to work”7

1921

  • Export beef trade collapsed6

1953

  • Kenneth Woodhead Moore became manager of the Ross River meatworks14
    • Moore was manager until 1956.14

1955

  • QME – disclosed an overdraft of $2,392,954, at the time estimated cost of replacement of the works was $800,0006
  • November – offer from Vestey’s (British) accepted $1,575,000
    • Subsidiary company W.Weddel & Co – purchased Angliss meat interests in 1934.6
    • 1961 QME had entered into partnership with 11 other companies – Angliss Group6

old photo_edited-1Source – Wikipedia. Photo public property. Undated

holding yards_edited-1Source – This is Australia Oswald L Ziegler, Dated 1956.
Looking over holding yards of Ross River meatworks outside city of Townsville

1960’s

  • Extensive upgrades including a kill chain6
  • Women allowed to work on the killing floor6
  • Chilled beef shipments had resumed from Townsville for the first time since WWI6
  • QLD government resumed land for realignment of major raods Townsville to Ayr6

1975

  • QME submitted application to sub divide holding paddocks for residential blocks6
  • Australia was in a severe economic crisis.17
    • Most severe since the Great Depression.17
    • Profits slumped and mass sackings followed with general manufacturing factory closure occurring.17
      • Unemployment in Australia reached 5%.17
    • Whitlam Labour government at the time, economic policy swung from expansion to reining in the ballooning deficit.17
      • government felt key to recovery was ‘healthy profits’.17
        • attacked dole bludgers, wage rises and militant unions.17
      • large scale protests occurred across Australia.17
      • Townsville 3 meatworks stopped work for the day October 24.17

1992

  • Smorgon Consolidated industries purchased6

1993

  • Type 1 road trains – truck with dog trailer allowed access directly to meatworks3.

1994

  • Smorgon meat processing company suffer huge company collapse in early 1994

1995 

  • American markets opened for poorer quality meats and resulted in death knell of canning operations.6
  • February. closed5
    • closure announced by Smorgons on 27th Feb, 199510
  • A seasonlly operated plant that worked 9 months of the year, employed about 380 people, many long term employed at the facility10
  • previous year facility had processed 86,000 head of cattle10
    • projections that Live export would reach 390,000 in 1995 concerned union10
    • Australia’s total live cattle export for 1994/95 402,120 head and 1995/96 649,715 head11
  • Union and animal welfare group met and formed a group CALE (Committee Against Live Export)10
    • Tony Clunies-Ross as secretary10
    • CALE spearheads struggle to protect jobs and ease the suffering of animals10
    • Initive spread with CALE groups in Victoria and Western Australia10
  • 400 people lost jobs5

1997

  • Land purchased by a developer of Fairfield Waters12
  • Developer had originally planned to keep the chimney and three gable buildings near it to turn into a public monument and a brewery12
    • Never allowed as reports showed all structures structurally damaged and should be demolished12
    • Buildings were demolished12

1999

  • Buildings demolished leaving only brick chimney12

Chimney_edited-1Source – www.panoramio.com/photo/12516926, Tim Dickson, Not dated.
Remaining chimney of the Ross River meatworks

2007

  • Developer Lancicn planned to demolish chimney to build a resort.12
    • Engineering report commissioned by Lancini found chimney was too unstable and old to preserve12
    • Residents complained and ordered a professional report into stacks structural integrity12
      • report said chimney could stay12
  • Government then fought over who should pay for repairs12
  • Chimney was heritage listed12
    • repairs cost $200,000
  • Chimney is now surrounded by Lancini’s Springbank urban village.12
    • Claims of ghostly figures appearing by the chimney as dark outlines, thought to be the ghost of a man named Crawford who died at the works in 1901 after he fell into a vat of boiling fat.13

Sources

  1. Competition & Exit in Meat Processing. Agribusiness review Vol 7 1999
  2. ‘100 years of northern beef production’Nth QLD Register 22.11.12
  3. ‘Trucking Industry moves ahead’ Nth QLD Register 11.04.13
  4. ‘The abattoirs – Evidence before the commission’ The Adelaide Advertiser. 30.01.1914.
  5. ‘Ross River Meatworks, Part I’ Nth QLD Register 18.07.13
  6. ‘Ross River meatworks, Part 2’ Nth QLD Register 25.07.13
  7. ‘100 years of struggle and change’ AMIEU History. Claude Jones
  8. ‘A history of the frozen meat trade’ Troubridge & Raymond. 1912
  9. www.jculibrarynews.blogspot.com.au
  10. ‘Meatworkers and animal libbers form alliance’ Green Left Weekly. 30.08.95
  11. ‘The Australian livestock export trade’ Nigel Austin. 2011
  12. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_River_Meatworks_Chimney
  13. www.paranormal.com.au
  14. Australian Dictionary of Biography. Moore (1917-1990) Vol 18, 2012
  15. www.northqueenslandhistory.blogspot.com.au
  16. ‘Barricades & Batons: An historical perspective of the policing of major industrial disorder in Australia’ D. Baker. 1999
  17. anu.edu.au-Whitlam sacking 1975
%d bloggers like this: