The finishing touches are being put on the first abattoir built in Queensland in two decades and the owners hope it will encourage a new generation of beef producers.
Located just outside of Moranbah in central Queensland, the 200-head-a-day boutique plant is the first of its kind in the region.
It has been a long-held dream of Josie and Blair Angus from Signature Beef to get the $37-million project off the ground.
“[The] roof is currently going on,” Mrs Angus said.
“It’s finally starting to look like an abattoir.”
The couple has set its sights squarely on the future leaders in the field.
“We’ll bring some experienced people from the industry, but our goal then is to fill that team, particularly with young people from the bush,” Mrs Angus said.
“Our key target audience is young beef producers so that they’re learning that bit more about the on-farm gate and where their product is heading.”
After a lengthy pre-production and smooth construction phase, the abattoir is set to be finished by July.
It had largely relied on funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to boost job opportunities in the region.
The Australian Meat Industry Council previously said it would be difficult to find enough staff to run the operation, but the Angus family always remained confident.
“As we start, we’ll obviously go through some training and ramp-up phases,” Mrs Angus said.
“But as we get towards full production, which we hope doesn’t take that long, we’ll move towards 70 to 80 people.”
Signature Beef already has a mix of experienced staff and next-generation producers, including three graduates from the University of New England.
Mrs Angus said this showed interest in production work was starting to grow, particularly in the regions.
She hoped their abattoir would get the ball rolling for others to follow suit.
“We’d like to see processing move strongly back into the region and keep processing as small and local as we can.
“We believe that will deliver strength to our industry.”
NAIF is providing a $25m loan to the project.