Tag Archives: Victorian abattoirs


Other Names

Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation registration dated 29/12/2015 #397 – JBS Australia Pty Ltd (Cobram).4
    • registered as a Sheep, Goat, Offal export facility.4
  • Victorian PrimeSafe licensed facility – Accessed 13/04/2017
  • Direct employment enquiries to www.jbssa.com.au


  • Cobram is located on the Murray River in far northern Victoria.
    • Murray River is the border of Victoria and New South Wales.

Australia. Cobram

map. marked www.bing.com.

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      





  • JBS Australia split into two operating entities to make Northern and Southern regions in relation to abattoirs and feedlots within those areas1.
    • South – Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania1
    • North – NSW and QLD.1


  • November. JBS Swift Australia install closed-circuit television camera’s (CCTV) in it’s Australian meatworks.7
    • For the purpose of animal welfare and meatworker safety issues.7
    • CCTV for internal use by only JBS, with no plans to allow outsiders to view the footage.7
  • JBS’s US beef division (which includes Australia) delivered drop in net sales and earnings in it’s third quarter financial results.8
    • 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.8
    • Earnings before tax $134M,.8
      • Down by 22.5% on previous quarter.8
      • Down by 28.4% on third quarter last year.8
    • result reflection of domestic North American markets.8
      • Improved performance had occured in Australian.8
        • Demand had increased in Chinese markets.8


  •  July. JBS Australia across all facilities in operation kills daily1
    • 8,500 cattle,1
    • 24,000 smalls – which includes lambs1
    • Employs more than 8,000 people1
  • July. JBS Australia purchase majority shareholding in NSW based Andrew Meat.6
    • specialise in high quality, portion cutting and further processing of meats for domestic and international restaurant and foodservice customers.6
    • produce ready-cooked meals.6
    • company banner Creative Food Solutions.6
    • Andrew Meat will allow JBS expansion into high growth retail and value-adding segments.6
  • Expansion of the Andrew Meats business will start in November .9
    • JBS global strategy to expand into value added meat protein – opportunity to expand margins.9
    • JBS have an existing value-added division – Food Partners.9
      • supplies food service customers like Pizza Hut and Domino’s with toppings.9
    • Andrew Meats focus will be produce ready meals.9
      • ‘grab & go’ beef roasts, designed to compete head on with hot cabinet roast chickens sold in supermarkets.9
      • Domestic markets were very immature but also with significant growth potential.9
  • At this time JBS operate.6
    • 10 processing facilities.6
      • Daily processing capacity of more than 8,000 cattle and 21,000 small stock.6
    • 5 feedlots.6
  • December. JBS currently operate 12 meat processing plants across 5 Australian states2
    • Wages & local procurement $730M (Excluding livestock purchases)2
    • Employs 8,500 people at the facilities2
      • Employs 12,000 people in Australia2
    • Total revenue of $6.5B2

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)2
    • JBS share of Australian beef production 16%2
    • Market share of national small (lamb, mutton & goat) 16%
  • JBS spent $2.4M on halal certification costs of approved religious certifiers in 20142


  • June. Cost of processing in Australia 1.5-3 times the cost of processing animals in another country2
  • cost of processing grain-fed cattle in Australia is twice of the USA2
    • lower levels of productivity in Australia in regards to kg per unit of labour2
    • 2 major differences between Australia and the USA2
      1. Government regulation
        • $10 a head more in Australia2
        • Dept. of Australian Agriculture fully recover costs of meat export inspection and certification2
          • Australia wide DAFF costs $80M2
          • JBS contribute $14.5M2
        • Export plants don’t use DAFF but use approved employees, which plants fully cover costs2
          • JBS estimate an additional $30M at Export level2
        • USA & Brazil governments provide services at no or minimal costs to processors2
      2. Energy Costs
        • $15 a head more in Australia2
    • Technical barriers to trade (TBT’s)- Total value in Australia estimated at $1.25B as identified costs2
      • 261 TBT’s in 40 key markets2
        • 136 have significant trade distortion impacts2


  • 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. ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates.3
    • 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.3
    • Income tax information is for 2013/14.3
      • JBS Holdco Australia Pty Ltd produced Total Income $4,040,948,610.3
        • Taxable Income $419,882,525.3
          • Tax Payable $44,809,334.3


  • March. JBS will close Cobram facility temporarily10.
    • Longford (Tas) is already closed temporarily, closure extended an additional month10.
  • Cobram plant last kill scheduled 16/03/201710
    • closure to occur for 4 weeks10
    • Staff only informed of closure 17/03/201710
      • Currently 290 staff at the plant10
  • Cobram can process 3,200 grass and grain-fed lambs a day, as well as hoggets and mutton10.
  • Closure is due to livestock supply challenges10
    • Tight supplies10
    • High Livestock prices10
      • Erode processing margins across Eastern Australia10
      • Animal protein industry was highly competitive in Australia and Internationally10
    • Livestock supply has decline severely in the last 12 months making procurement of stock very difficult and expensive10
    • Other abattoirs are temporarily closing10
      • Cootamundra (QLD). Manildra Meat Co 10
        • February 2017. Cootamundra dropped 150 permanent staff and 70 casuals15
        • Administration deemed the business unable to work in a viable manner15
          • Lamb prices exceeding $6/kg or $250 per head15
      • Deniliquin abattoir Australian Meat Group15
        • Closed 17/03/2017 due to high lamb prices15
          • Closure had been described as temporary but no sign yet of re-opening15.
      • Esperance (WA) Shark Lake Meatworks10
        • Placed in administration 24/02/201715
      • Goulburn (NSW). Southern Meats 10
      • Gunbower (Vic) McGillvray10
        • Closed after more than 60 years of operation15
      • Wallangarra (NSW) TFI15.
        • May have closed or significantly reduced operations15
  • Cobram Closure is a stand-down10
    • Consistent with the plant’s Enterprise Agreement with staff10.
    • Technically is a temporary stand-down rather than a staff stand-down10
    • re-opening will be considered in 4 weeks on 24/04/201710
  • Usual for short seasonal maintenance shutdowns for this time of year10
  • Livestock processed under the Great Southern brand program at Cobram or10 Longford (Tas)  will be transferred and processed at Brooklyn (Vic)10
  • Competitive market access internationally was being affected by timeframe to finalise an expansion of chilled markets for beef and lamb to China10
  • Current model of high livestock prices was not sustainable10
    • High prices good for producers10
    • operational costs for processors, energy or general regulatory costs were playing a significant part in Australia’s competitiveness against America, Brazil and New Zealand processors10.
    • Labour costs10
    • red tape associated with cost of compliance10
  • Expected reduced lamb processing capacity in Australia later in the year10
  • Restocker sheep indicator 145c/kg higher than previous year10
  • Light lamb indicator 101c/kg higher than previous year10
  • Trade lamb indicators up 69c against year ago levels10
  • Heavy lamb indicators up 52c against year ago level10.
    • Prices are forecast to go higher in winter due to supply shortfall10
  • Up to 350 workers will be affected by the 4 week closure11
    • Staff had been informed 17/03/201711
      • Notice had been given that staff were not required to attend work from Friday 17/03/201711
        • Kill floor staff to return 18/04/201711
          • Boning room staff to return 19/04/201711
        • Load-out, maintenance, skin shed and rendering staff may be required to work intermittently during the stand-down period11
    • Staff were to be paid accrued annual leave during the stand-down period11
    • Staff had heard of the Longford (Tas) stand-down and had been nervous  that the same thing would happen to them at Cobram11
  • State Member for Ovens Tim MCurdy calls on the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to visit Cobram in the wake of the abattoir shut-down12.
    • Wants a plan in place to support the community incase the shut-down is longer12.
  • Had been a difficult year in the region for primary producers12
    • Murray Goulburn announced farm gate milk prices drops that affected many local dairy farmers12
  • April. Cobram abattoir stand-down is extended another month13.
  • Stand-down is now expected to extend for months14.
    • Return to work not expected until September or October14.
    • Possible stand-down could stretch out for 8 months14
    • Affecting 241 employees14
      • Workers were not able to apply to Centrelink as they were not made redundant14
  • JBS have made some staff positions redundant14
  • Longford (Tas) temporary closure is also extended for the full extent of the current season14
    • affecting 86 employees
  • Stock that would have been processed at Cobram or Longford (Tas) are now being diverted other company facilities at Brooklyn (Vic) and Bordertown (SA)
  • 9 Major closures of processing plants at different companies across eastern Australia have occurred recently14
    • Plants that remain in operation are working on loss-making skeleton 3 day weekly kills15.
    • Questions the over-capacity in the lamb processing industry relative to the supply pool15
      • Exacerbated by the advent of the Tier One export certification process15
        • Former domestic only plants gained export status to export their products and expanded the facilities to increase sales15.
      • Volatility in the processing sector has always been a common factor15
        • Drought – stock are in oversupply15
          • Allows high profitability to the processor 2-3 years ago15
        • Dramatic stock shortage leads to big losses in processing as base cost of the animal increases15.
          • Export markets unwilling to pay more adds to buy-sell impact15.
      • High levels of foreign investment interest in processing recently15
  • Stock supply shortages are partly affected by the strength of the current wool market15.
    • Stock retained at the moment were Merino wethers that previously would have been placed into lamb production15.
  • Domestic retail price wars  are blamed for current cost-price squeeze on lamb processors15.
  • Current supply challenge and processing plant impact is without precedent15.

Export plants Ausmeat 2014.

Source Australian Export Abattoir Locations 2014

Location sites of export abattoirs accredited as Aus-meat facilities 2014

2017 closed facilities 22.04.2017

Source Australian Abattoir Locations – Temporary closures during 2017

Location of export abattoirs and domestic (Gunbower) facilities that have been forced to significantly reduce operations or shut-down for lengthy periods in 2017 due to shortage of stock supply (Sheep)

Australia. Export abs. 21.04.2017

Victoria 22.04.2017


Sources Cobram Vic. JBS

  1. ‘The next Swift Shift’ The Weekly Times. 30.07.2014
  2. sub50_JBS Inquiry into the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector
  3. ‘ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates’ Beef Central 18.12.2015
  4. AUS-MEAT Accreditation Listing 29.12.2015
  5. ‘Big Beef producer cuts deal with Tasman group’ The Age 06.03.2008
  6. ‘JBS takes stake in Andrews Meat’ www.farmonline.com.au 09.07.2014
  7. ‘Swift CCTV camera action’ Weekly Times 13.11.2013
  8. ‘JBS delivers lower third quarter beef sales, revenue’ Beef Central 14.11.2013
  9. ‘What’s behind JBS taking a big stake in Andrews Meat Value adding Businnes? Beef Central 10.07.2014
  10. ‘JBS shutters second lamb plant, as livestock supply and price issues intensify’ Sheep Central 17.03.2017
  11. ‘Stand down at abattoir’ Cobram Courier 23.03.2017
  12. ‘Premier asked to visit JBS staff: McCurdy’ Cobram Courier 29.03.2017
  13. ‘Stand-down extended at JBS Cobram’ Cobram Courier 12.04.2017
  14. ‘JBS cobram stand down extended for months’ Cobram Courier 19.04.2017
  15. ‘Indefinite closure for JBS lamb plants, as supply challenge reaches critical point’ Beef Central 20.04.2017

Colac #1

My thanks to the Colac Otway Shire council for their kindness in finding and lending me the book ’75 Years of meat processing in a proper manner – The Colac abattoir’ by Trish Stephens 2002.


Other Names

  • Colac Meat preserving company1
  • CRF

Current Operation


  • Colac is situated in South east Victoria, approximately 75km south east of Geelong


Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • Colac Shire Council1
  • Colac Shire Council and Colac City council1
  • Sherry Family (from 1965 – )1
  • Western District Meat Packing – 1965 – 1997
  • CRF (Colac Otway Pty Ltd) 1997




  • Hugh Murray established a camp on the Barongarook creek that became the Colac settlement (pg1)1
    • Name Colac was taken from the local Aboriginal tribe (Pg 1)1


  • Thomas Austin from the Winchelsea district imported the first wild rabbits (Pg 1)1


  • Wild rabbits had developed by this time into plague proportions.(Pg 1)1
  • Rabbit preserving factory –  the first industry in Colac was developed.(Pg 1)1


  • Colac Meat Preserving Company begins operation.(Pg 1)1
    • Set up by Farrington and Hamilton on the South west boundary of town.(Pg 1)1
    • 400 couples of rabbits delivered for initial processing.(Pg 1)1


  • Company wound up due to lack of markets.(Pg 1)1
    • Many locals who had subscribed to the company lost their funds.(Pg 1)1


  • Another preserving company established – to preserve beef and mutton.(Pg 1)1
    • Cattle and sheep prices were so high the company mainly preserved rabbit over the next 10 years.(Pg 1)1


  • Colac shire council pass a resolution to consider suitable sites for an abattoir.(Pg 2)1


  • Beef and mutton preserving company closed.(Pg 1)1


  • Colac still has no abattoir and slaughterhouses are processing animals from saleyards.(Pg 3)1
    • facilities are un-hygienic and many sites exist that the health inspectors of the time were unable to supervise.(Pg 3)1

    … a place where animals can be slaughtered in a proper manner.” Shire Inspector – AA McCune. (Inside cover)1

    • A report is written to the shire to consider establishing an abattoir similar to the new facility at Warrnambool.(Pg 3)1


  • Colac Shire were the first shire in Victoria to establish its own municipal abattoir. (Pg 4)1
  • Colac shire committed 20,000 pounds to the project. (Pg 4)1
    • there was opposition to the project from some members of the public and butchers.(Pg 4)1
    • 17 acre site near the railway line at Colac East.(Pg 4)1
  • Abattoir design was based on estimate of annual slaughtering.(Pg 4)
    • 2,300 cattle – killing costs 2 shillings per head.(Pg 4)1
    • 22,880 sheep – Killing costs 6 pence.(Pg 4)1
    • 540 pigs – killing costs 6 pence.(Pg 4)1
    • 5,000 calves – killing costs 1 shilling.(Pg 4)1
    • These values the Colac  council expected to raise sufficent funds to pay for the loan and provide a surplus of 500 pounds per annum.(Pg 4)1
  • Abattoir was made of reinforced concrete – which was a relatively new building product at the time.(Pg 4)1

“The building was of concrete and included beef killing, beef hanging, mutton and pork, pig dressing and offal rooms. There was also a chilling chamber, air lock, chilling plant, hot water system and drainage system. Electric light and power was installed and water laid on from the Colac Scheme. In all there were twenty seperate rooms” The Shire of Colac 1864-1964. (Pg 4)1


  • Colac abattoir offically opened. (Pg 6)1
  • Early days of operation labourer advertisement to pay 4 pounds 10 shillings per week. (Pg 6)1
    • 75 men applied for the one position. (Pg 6)1
  • Individual butchers’ slaughteryards were phased out.1
  • Slaughtermen in the abattoirs were adept at slaughter and dressing with none of today’s automation to assist them. (Pg 7)1
    • slaughtermen dragged sheep from the pen, rolled on the animal on its side, cut the throat, skinned, hung and dressed (gutted and cut off the legs.). (Pg 7)1
  • First method of killing beef was spearing. (Pg 8)1
    • Slaughterman would stand over the top of the beast in a crush, using a 3/4 inch blade on a long handled spear drive it into the back of the animals head – severing the spinal cord. (Pg 8)1
      • animal then rolled onto grate to be bled. (Pg 8)1
    • Captive bolt method of killing was introduced latter – pistol fired a hollow bolt into the back of the neck killing the animal, bolt retracted into the gun. (Pg 8)1
    • Early method to kill pigs was to strike them with a pronged hammer on the forehead.(Pg 14)1
      • Latter animals were electrocuted with a clamp to each side of the head. (Pg 14)1

Insert picture – page 6 – Colac Municipal abattoir (Pg 6)1


  • 2,000 animals were being slaughtered monthly with numbers increasing steadily.(Pg 8)1
  • Offal was picked up from the abattoir daily by truck and taken to a works. (Pg 8)1
    • boiled down and converted into meat meal, blood and bone and tallow.(Pg 8)1

1930’s & 1940’s

  • Various customers of the abattoir. (Pg 9)1
    • farmers having their own stock slaughtered for personal use.(Pg 9)1
    • Wholesale butchers for local butchers and sent to Melbourne meat markets.(Pg 9)1
    • Council had stock slaughtered and sent to Melbourne meat market – with skin on.(Pg 9)1


  • Abattoir now controlled by a joint committee consisting of 3 representatives from each of 2 councils. (Pg 10)1
    • Arrangement caused problems in latter years. (Pg 10)1


  • Special meeting of council agreed that increased accommodation, a drafting race and other improvments were urgently needed. (Pg 11)1


  • Meat was loaded on trucks to be transported in the early morning to reach Melbourne markets.(Pg 11)1
  • Blood, bone and inedible offal was carried in bags to Camperdown. (Pg 11)1
  • Edible offal was sent to Newmarket. (Pg 11)1
  • Slaughtermen worked on contract killing. (Pg 12)1
  • Tuberculosis and Brucellosis infected cattle were inspected at properties and those found infected had a large arrow shaved onto their sides. (Pg 12)1
    • All TB cattle were consigned after slaughter to boiling down works. (Pg 12)1


  • Meat Rationing introduced. (Pg 39)1
    • Those over 9 years old – 1 and 1/2 pounds high quality to 4 pounds low quality per week. (Pg 39)1
    • Under 9 years old half of that ration. (Pg 39)1
    • Coupons were issued. (Pg 39)1
    • Rationing continued until 1948. (Pg 39)1
    • Home delivery by butchers wasn’t allowed. (Pg 39)1


  • Boiling works was already in operation at Colac site at this time.(Pg21)1


  • Western District Meat Packing Company (WDMP) set up by Vic Sherry.(Pg22)1


  • Most stock sourced from the Western District.(Pg 17)1
    • Occasionally was shipped in from Tasmania.(Pg 17)1
    • One occasion bought by train from Adelaide.(Pg 17)1
  • Meat distribution went over a wide area of the western district of Victoria.(Pg 17)1
  • Shared ownership was causing management problems.(Pg 19)1
    • Shire Council offered 35,000 pounds to City Council to buy their share.(Pg 19)1
    • Offer was initially refused but then increased to 40,000 pounds and accepted.(Pg 19)1
  • Slaughter of animals – Calves hit on the head with an iron bar(Pg 19)1
    • From 1957 to early 60’s calve carcases sent to Melbourne with skins on.(Pg 19)1


  • Previous 3 years Council spent 6,877 pounds on improvements and extensions including installation of additional chilling space.(Pg 19)1
  • Year ending 30th September(Pg 19)1
    • 182,890 animals slaughtered, monthly average 15,000 head.(Pg 19)1
  • Renewal of export registration for slaughter of cattle and sheep Establishment #142.(Pg 18)1
  • Colac now slaughtering 90 head a day for the USA beef export market.(Pg 19)1
    • Americans put more and more pressure on the shire to upgrade the plant.(Pg 19)1
    • Shire was disinclined to increase costs to ratepayers and was unable to meet necessary export requirements – relinquished export licence May 1964.(Pg 19)1
  • Colac processing beef for the canning trade.(Pg 19)1


  • Relinquished export licence to USA .(Pg 19)1
  • Western District Meat packing company obtain an order from Greece for 300 head, boned out into lean beef packs.(P22)1


  •  Commonwealth Meat Authority announce that ‘slaughtermen at municpal abattoirs must be under the one control’.(Pg 19)1
  • Colac abattoir slaughtermen worked under contract to the operators who used the abattoir.(Pg 19)1
    • a situation not easily altered.(Pg 19)1
    • Shire was faced with a serious dilemma about the future of the works.(Pg 19)1

The main reason why the Council decided to sell was because it was an enormous expense on loan funds (273,000 pounds had been quoted for improvements so that an export licence for the United States could be obtained and the licences for the U.K and Europe retained) and Council would not be able to make it pay, It could not be able to be made pay unless Council acquired the boiling down works owned by Mr Sherry” Colac Herald 11.06.1965.(Pg 24)1

  • When Sherry family decided to purchase works objections were made regarding sale (Pg 24)1
    • Lodged by a competitior but later revealed was local butchers (Pg 24)1
    • Butchers attempted to form a co-operative to buy the abattoir themselves (Pg 24)1
  • Sherry Family purchase the Colac abattoir.(Pg 20)1
    • Sale agreement contained clauses governing the operation of the facility for the next 15 years (Pg 25)1
    • Safegaurded the butchers interests (Pg 24)1
    • Sherry family had connections with the abattoir for many years prior to purchase contracted to process the by-products.(Pg 20)
    • By-products facility operated at the abattoir with product shipped to Melbourne.(Pg 20)1
    • Another firm Pannifax already processed some by products.(Pg 20)1
      • Oesophagi lining – used for special sausage skins.(Pg 20)1
      • Dried sausage skins used for strings on tennis racquets.(Pg 20)1
      • Sheep, trotters and cows feet and noses to sell for gelatine.(Pg 20)1
    • Vic Sherry started an operation in 1952/53 – called Colac By-products.(Pg 21)1
      • produced high quality tallow, meat meal used in stock and dog food, blood and bone.(Pg 21)1
      • Dried ends of cow tails for paint brushes.(Pg 21)1
  • Western District Meat Packing Company with 2 other Australian companies selected for export trial of 150 tonne order to Yugoslavia. (Pg 22)1
  • Other export markets at this time included Malta, Egypt, Malaya, Britian, West Indies, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and France. (Pg 22)1


  • Piggery department was closed.(Pg 26)1
    • Costs of upgrading the piggery to Australian standards became too great. (Pg 26)1
    • Killing of pigs became uneconomical. (Pg 26)1


  • Western District Meat Packing section closes. (Pg 28)1
    • Machiney in the by-products section of the business was run almost entirely on oil. (Pg 28)1
    • Oil prices rose dramatically. (Pg 28)1
    • Competitive edge of business was lost.(Pg 28)1


  • WDMP – Business focused on home markets (Pg 28)1
    • $250,000 improvements were completed (Pg 28)1
    • 8% increase in staff (Pg 28)1
    • Output of mutton section more than doubled to 1,000 sheep a day (Pg 28)1
  • 7 department of health inspectors kept watch on quality of meat (Pg 28)1
  • 85% of meat processed through abattoir (30 tonnes per night) carted to Melbourne (Pg 28)1
  • Abattoir processing chain moves from solo slaughtering to chain methods (Pg 30)1
    • Once installed the record of 234 beef carcases processed in one day is set (Pg 31)1


  •  Colac abattoir now employs 185 people (Pg 29)1
    • Largest employer in the town (Pg 29)1
  • Australian Meat substitution scandal causes irreparable damage to the industry overall and WDMP is forced to sell its 14 retail shops (Pg 29)1


  • Work ceased for 6 weeks (Pg 32)1
  • Late 1980’s women were allowed to be employed in the boning room and later on the chain. (Pg 32)1
  • Colac was one of the few meatworks in Victoria to gain a full licence to sell produce to every state. (Pg 32)1


  • Colac slaughter lambs for Coles Supermarkets1
    • initially 500 per week, by 1989 5,000 per week (Pg 34)1


  • Colac abattoir now slaughtering 5,000 lambs per week for Coles Supermarkets (Pg 34)1


  • Colac now employs 100 people on the chain and boning room plus 20 office workers, 4 buyers and 2 drovers (Pg 34)1


  • Coles is now Colac’s major business with an arrangement that all Coles stock to be slaughtered at Colac (Pg 34)1


  • Colac receive  an award ‘to encourage and reward innovation throughout the entire meat industry’ (Pg 34)1
    • Installed a system that altered the small stock slaughter chain.(Pg 34)1
      • Based on a New Zealand system.(Pg 34)1
      • more hygienic with less micro contamination.(Pg 34)1
      • better-looking carcase.(Pg 34)1
      • carcase lasted longer.(Pg 34)1
      • Development costs $40,000, expected to return $80-$100,000.(Pg 34)1


  • March. Member of Polwarth Ian Smith announces a multi million dollar development at the abattoir. (Pg 34)1
    • Include food processing plant, abattoir, packing and boiling down facility.(Pg 34)1
    • Included meat packing for export.(Pg 34)1
    • create 700 jobs.(Pg 34)1
    • Plan never came to fruition. (Pg 34)1


  • August. Business goes into receivership. (Pg 34)1
    • Voluntary administrators are appointed. (Pg 34)1
  • November. Colac Otway Shire are notified that the meatworks was in receivorship. (Pg 35)1
  • Council decide to purchase the assets and business from the receiver and seen new investment from the private sector. (Pg 35)1
  • Closure of the facility would have been disastorous for Colac.(Pg 35)1
    • Large number of workers placed on social security.(Pg 35)1
    • lowering of house values in an already depressed market.(Pg 35)1
    • whole families leaving town.(Pg 35)1
    • Snowball effect on other businesses and service providers.(Pg 35)1
  • Research was conducted. (Pg 36)1
    • Meat industry was undergoing massive changes but the Colac facility could accomodate these changes.(Pg 36)1
      • Location.(Pg 36)1
      • access to quality stock.(Pg 36)1
      • High quality water.(Pg 36)1
      • skilled workforce available that could be quickly and easily retained.(Pg 36)1
      • Site already had a planning permit.(Pg 36)1
    • Council went ahead with business plan to attract a new investor.(Pg 36)1
  • December. Colac Otway Shire council enter agreement with liquidators indemnifying them from losses.(Pg 36)1
    • Liquidators operated facility from 15th December 1997 to 19th January 1998.(Pg 36)1


  • January. Liquidators operate facilities to 19th January 1998.(Pg 36)1
  • The Shire obtains an domestic licence and signs contracts with liquidators.(Pg 36)1
  • August. Operation run at a loss by Shire to this date.(Pg 36)1
  • Main focus to reestablish busines. (Pg 36)1
    • Maintain good relationship with Coles .(Pg 36)1
    • Maintain wholesale operation and distribution business.(Pg 36)1
  • Coles re-enter the boning operations.(Pg 36)1
  • 25% of the workers previously employed by liquidators shed but no direct sackings occured.(Pg 36)1
  • No new employment created, places filled by casuals.(Pg 36)1
  • 80 permanent employees and 50 casuals employed.(Pg 36)1
  • Now processing 2,000 lambs and 100 beef a day.(Pg 36)1
  • Shire Council was under immense pressure, taking a huge risk to keep the facility in operation1
    • pressure came from. (Pg 36)1
      • unions. (Pg 36)1
      • fluctuating marketplace. (Pg 36)1
      • fact that facility didn’t meet National Standards. (Pg 36)1
      • Uncertainty of government support. (Pg 36)1


  • June. Development agreement is signed. (Pg 37)1
  • Victorian meat authority are pressuring shire – Licence was due to expire 30th June.(Pg 37)1
  • August. Licence negotiated and extended to 13th August. (Pg 37)1
  • Building of new plant begins. (Pg 37)1
    • export standard meat processing facility. (Pg 37)1
  • Facility to be run by privately owned company CRF (Colac Otway Pty Ltd). (Pg 37)1


  • March. Licence negoitated to further extension 31st March.(Pg 37)1
  • Killing only lambs for Coles.(Pg 37)1
  • Retention of workers ensured atleast 80 full time and 50 casual positions retained.(Pg 37)1
  • Expect further 150 positions when CRF operating to capacity.(Pg 37)1
  • $50M direct annual turnover expected.(Pg 37)1
    • Multiplier impact of conservative $10M per annum in the local economy.(Pg 37)1


  • February. Crisis of animal supply due to weather, National flock numbers low and high sheep prices.
    • Colac abattoir stops employing casual staff
    • Some Victorian saleyards lambs $170 a head
      • processors losing $50 a head on prime lamb
    • Problems expected to last at least another 12 months
  • National sheep flock has plunged from 170M in 1990 to below 70M
    • prolonged drought and low wool prices
    • farmers forced to leave industry or trim numbers
  • Soaring Aussie dollar has made sheep expensive on the international market
  • Colac currently employing 400
    • Still operating 2 shifts a day
  • Live export through Portland also expected to curtail during winter as stock become scarce
  • Australian Lamb Company (ALC) – use Colac abattoir currently processing 2,800 lambs a week through Colac
    • ALC in peak times were processing 5,000 lambs.



  1. ’75 Years of Meat Processing in a proper manner – The Colac abattoir’ Trish Stephens 2002.

Victorian Meat processing facilities

Listings of abattoirs as at 02/03/2014
Aus-meat Accreditation List – Latest Version www.ausmeat.com.au

AUS-MEAT list 28.02.14.

Lists Victoria as having 9 Boning Rooms, 18 Export licensed abattoirs and 6 Domestic abattoirs

Prime Safe Facilities – Latest Version www.primesafe.vic.gov.au


39 Primesafe licenced facilities.

In 1988 report  Meat_88_01 facilities listed in Victoria in 1987.

Chart - facilities _edited-1Chart – Victorian meat processing facilities in 1987 compared to 2014.


Cranbourne abattoir (Wagstaff) is located SW of Melbourn, extensively damaged by fire in 2013, multi species plant employing 250 people.

Other Names

  • Ralph’s Family abattoir2
  • Wagstaff abattoir2

Current Operation

  • fire extensively damaged the facility March 2013 – Not sure of current operation.


  • Cranbourne is a south western suburb of Melbourne, approximately 35km from the CBD.

Australia. Cranbourne


Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • Ralph founding family members.2


  • Two tier export licensed plant2
  • Has capacity to process 300 cattle and 2500-3000 sheep a day2
  • Employed 250 people2
  • provided service kill and boning program for local producers and suppliers.2
  • Multi species processing abattoir2



  • Established to service the growing population of Melbourne.2


  • Chronic labour shortage in meat industry and meat processors are accussed of using 457 temporary visa programs to bring in skilled labour but underpaying and using the people for other work positions.1
    • Visas granted to industries nationwide (not only meat processors) jumped 40% from previous year.1
    • Freeze was placed on 457 Visa applications to meatworks by Government over concerns of breachs of conditions. – Delays are said to be hampering meatwork operations1
      • lack of employees have some processors throwing product away rather than be processed due to lack of labour and is causing missed opportunities in export markets1
    • 457 Visa means worker must stay with employer for 4 years, Meant to meet criteria of skilled slaughtermen and only used for that position, not as unskilled labourers, boners.1
    • Recruitment companies find the workers and match to employer, usually the employer finds accommodation and deducts rent and travel from workers salaries – AMIEU claim exorbitant rents are being charged1
    • Union complaining that 457 Visas workers. “Workers who are being brough into Australia are in many cased being exploited.are being abused , and not being paid correctly and being misued at work” Graham Bird AMIEU1
    • Cranbourne employ 20 Chinese workers – they are bussed to the abattoir from homes rented by the company, all 457 visas. – Cranbourne say its operations all above board1
    • Murray Bridge abattoir (SA) subject of Government investigation of if 457 Visa holders are doing other jobs.1
    • Western Australia had 36 Investigations, 80% of employers found to be in breach of conditions and WA department of employment protection recovered $200,000 in underpayment of wages (Authors note – article didn’t specify if across all industries or only meat processing)1


  • Operations changed and Ralph’s Meat company spilt – one extension taking over Cranbourne facility (Operates as Wagstaff)  and the original company operating a another abattoir at Seymour (Operates Ralph Meat Co)2


  • March. Fire caused extensive damage to approximately 60% of the building2
    • Thought to have begun as an electrical fire in the roof.2
    • Insulation used in refrigertion make abattoir fires notoriously hard to control2
    • Sheep and cattle  were penned in close proximity to the building on fire, they were able to be moved but 2 sheep died from stress.2


  1. ‘Meat Industry accused of exploiting foreign workers’ ABC 7.30 report 31.07.2006
  2. ‘Fire guts Victoria’s Cranbourne meatworks’ Beef Central 25.03.13


Pakenham abattoir is located in Southern Victoria and is the one of the largest export abattoirs in Southern Australia. Processing high quality grass and grainfed beef.

Other Names

  • G & K O’Connor’s

Current Operation

  • Operational – As at time of writing. 23.12.13.


  • Pakenhan is a south eastern suburb of Melbourne

Australia. Pakenham


Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • G & K O’Connors1
    • partially Japanese shareholding1


  • One of the largest export abattoirs in Southern Australia1
  • Employs 300 people1
  • Processes high quality grass and grainfed beef1
  • exports approximately 70% of production1
  • supplies to markets Halal, EU, China and Japan1
  • Sells product under number of brand names including O’Connor1
  • Sources majority of supply from Gippsland region, east and north of Melbourne.1



  • Established1


  • Amendment C176 to the Cardinia Planning Scheme allow future expansion of the abattoirs site and security due to other infrastructure planned by govenernment including roads and access.


  1. ‘O’Conner gets land use approval for future development’ Beef Central 23.12.13.
  2. ‘$315 million boost for Pakenham abattoir’ Edward Donohue. Member for eastern Victoria. 25.02.13.


Other Names

Current Operation

  • Operational as at 13.11.2013
  • Establishment #06882
  • Export accredited abattoir processing Beef, Sheep, Goat and Offal.2


  • Brooklyn is located 14km from Melbourne’s CBD1

Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.



  • Establishment #6881
  • Beef – grass and grain fed1
  • lamb, hogget, mutton & veal1
  • Employees – 6881
  • Processes 5,200 daily1
  • Largest multis species processing facility in southern hemisphere1



  • June. Fire had gutted the plant3


  • March. SBA foods sell to Tasman Group Services, new trading name Belandra Pty Ltd.3
    • Brooklyn export abattoir operated in conjunction with Westgate coolstores
    • $25M deal included purchase with Longord abattoir (Tas) and King Island abattoir (Tas) mothballed Altona meatworks in Melbourne west and 8,000 head Yambinya feedlot at Wakool near Deniliquin NSW.3
  • Brooklyn facility still in reasonable condition, efforts to re-open had failed but SBA has spent $10M on the beef slaughter chain, chiller and boning facilities in the past 4 years.3


  • June. Trade halted on export of meat to Malaysia over doubts concerning halal status of Australian meat6


  • January. Market access to Malaysia suspended7
    • Malaysians concerned that pneumatic stunning and use of the thoracic stick (Used to speed up bleeding of carcase) were being used to speed killing process.7
  • April. Brooklyn receives Halal approval from Malaysian Islamic Development department.6
    • AQIS allow milder level of eclectrical stunning and thoracic stick at least 2 minutes after slaughter7
    • Grantham abattoir (QLD) and Wodonga abattoir (Vic) also gained approval7
    • Kilcoy abattoir (QLD), Longford abattoir (Tas) failed the accreditation tests.7



  • December. JBS Swift locked out cold storage workers under the Labor workplace relations regulations.4
    • Workers had rejected a proposed new enterprise agreement4
    • JBS offered wage adjustment 2% a year over 2 years4
    • Shifts increase from 8 hrs to between 9.5-12.6hrs affecting workers overtime and weekend penalty rates4
    • Union claim its a real wage cut given rate of inflation
    • Mostly immigrant workers striking granted a one-of payment of $250 and not normal wage on strike time, payable when picket disbanded.4
    • Union shut down picket on December 22 to revive on January 44
  • Work had continued at the plant with workers flown in from QLD and others sourced from a labour hire agency4


  • JBS Australia split into two operating entities to make Northern and Southern regions in relation to abattoirs and feedlots within those areas8.
    • South – Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania8
    • North – NSW and QLD.8


  • February. Received carbon abatement grant $212,512 towards equipment replacement worth $425,0005
    • replace boiler network with a higher efficency boiler and heat exchanger.5
    • Expect to reduce carbon emissions by 35%, saving $60,000 in energy costs per year5



  • July. JBS Australia across all facilities in operation kills daily8
    • 8,500 cattle,8
    • 24,000 smalls – which includes lambs8
    • Employs more than 8,000 people8



  1. ‘Our Plants – Brooklyn’ http://www.jbsswift.com.au Accessed 13.11.2013
  2. Aus meat List 28.02.2014
  3. ‘SBA foods sells to Tasman groups services’ Stock and Land. 19.03.2002
  4. ‘Australia: Union shuts down picket of locked out meatworkers’ http://www.wsws.org 28.12.10
  5. ‘Teys, T & R in latest round of carbon abatement grants’ Beef Central 18.02.13
  6. Headlines for week ending 21.04.06 http://www.profarmer.com.au.
  7. ‘Abattoirs supply Malaysia again’ Farm Weekly, 19.04.2006
  8. ‘The next Swift shift’ The Weekly Times. 30.07.2014