LIVESTOCK producers in WA could have had another fully operational abattoir in the South-West by now

30 Nov, 2006 07:00 PM
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Another processing facility would have been a godsend for WA producers during the drought year, when abattoirs were filled to capacity and the livestock export trade was shipping record numbers.

The snagging point seems to be a lack of dialogue between T and R Pastoral and relevant government offices that need to approve the site for operation.

Lobbying from WA¹s grower groups has failed to arouse any direct interest from the government since T and R Pastoral purchased the site at the beginning of the year.

Even the Dandalup local council and development board have supported T and R Pastoral¹s move into WA.

T and R Pastoral director Darren Thomas is amazed WA politicians were not bending over backwards to help the industry, particularly in light of a recent Agriculture Department report into major livestock price discrepancies compared to the eastern states.

³It says to us that the government in WA is happy with the way things are going,² he said.

³I would have thought it was in WA¹s interest to have a competitive processing sector.²

The site of the abattoir reportedly had a high water table and effluent discharge from future processing desperately needed to be addressed, Mr Thomas said.

³This really needs to be talked about at a government level and then flow on from there,² he said.

Mr Thomas has scheduled a visit to Perth in early December for industry meetings.

³But I would be there at the drop of a hat if someone from the WA Government in a high-level position wanted to discuss our intentions further,² Mr Thomas said.

³We¹re keen to get it up and running, but there is still that effluent discharge issue.

³We believe there is an easy solution and we are quite prepared to sit down with the appropriate authorities and discuss it further, but there won¹t be an ounce of action from us until we get that rectified.

³We will not commit any capital to that plant until we know it can do what we want it to do.²

A spokesperson for Environment Minister Mark McGowan denied any knowledge of the effluent discharge issues with T and R Pastoral¹s abattoir and said they had received no correspondence from the industry.

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) sent a letter to Mr McGowan¹s office on November 13.

PGA meat and livestock committee chairman Tim D¹Arcy said the letter requested a meeting with the Minister to discuss the ongoing issues affecting the opening of the abattoir.

Mr D¹Arcy said the PGA had not received a reply from Mr McGowan at the time of publication.

The Environmental Protection Authority told Farm Weekly it had no record of T and R Pastoral in its files.

The Environment and Conservation Department (DEC) confirmed it had on record a licence for T and R Pastoral to operate the abattoir.

DEC spokeswoman Nicole Bailey confirmed the site had a requirement for self-contained effluent discharge because of the high water table.

Mr D¹Arcy said he was disappointed with the government¹s lack of concern for T and R Pastoral¹s abattoir.

³We need to expedite the possible development of processing facilities in WA to enhance the competition in the market,² he said.

Mr D¹Arcy said another processor in WA would have alleviated the effects of drought for many WA producers.

³WA producers need to see this abattoir off the ground,² he said.

³It would also do away with any animal welfare issues on the long hauls from WA to South Australia.

³The government needs to recognise that agriculture is still a vital part of the economy.

³When mining is dead and gone for whatever reason, agriculture will still be needed.²

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