Council votes on controversial abattoir

By Ashlea Witoslawski

A decision has been reached by Greater Shepparton City Council on the future of an abattoir at Gillieston.

Councillors discussed the $30 million facility at the November ordinary council meeting last night.

To be developed by Meatworks Australia on a former dairy farm between Mooroopna and Kyabram, the abattoir is set to employ 120 full-time workers and process up to 3000 sheep a day.

The application was approved and was supported by all councillors except Fern Summer.

Some nearby landholders have objected to the development on land zoned for farming.

The facility will operate about 275 days a year from Monday to Friday, 12 hours a day (and some Saturdays) with a period of shutdown for maintenance.

The planning permit estimates 27 heavy vehicles will travel in and out of the site each day and a turning lane will need to be added to the east-bound lane of Lancaster-Mooroopna Rd to accommodate increased traffic.

The planning application said the location was selected due to its proximity to NSW, Melbourne Airport, ports and livestock markets.

In the planning application, Shepparton Meatworks’ project director Raed Elmasri said the abattoir would provide jobs for the area.

‘‘By introducing a contemporary meat processing facility for the global export of premium Australian lamb, we take a step closer to fulfilling Australia’s role in securing global food demand and keeping Australian jobs in Australia,’’ he said.

The construction phase is expected to employ more than 100 tradesmen and consultants and take 18 months to complete.

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