After only three months of operations, a game meat processor based in Charleville in Queensland has been issued with a Suspension Notice from Safe Food Queensland.
Barco Queensland began operations at the plant in March this year and had 25 employees working on the premises. The Charleville plant received carcasses from 30 kangaroo shooters which were then skinned on the premises before being sent to premises belonging to parent company, Millennium Pet Foods, for further processing.
In the three months of operations, the Charleville Plant quickly grew from processing 300 to 400 carcasses per week to 1500.
Reasons for closure
The Suspension Notice was issued by Safe Food Queensland who are responsible for ensuring that food businesses in the state comply with both federal and state legislation.
Safe Food Queensland are unable to provide further information on the reasons behind the Suspension Notice as the reasons are only ‘alleged’ at this stage.
Barco Queensland General Manager Daniel McGettigan said the notice came as a shock and that he’s not aware of the reasons behind the suspension.
A blow to local employment
South West Regional Economic Development Group chair Lindsay Godfrey said that the news was disappointing as the local economy was ‘depressed’ and needed the employment.
“We’ve worked with every meat processor possible in south west Queensland to generate some jobs,” he said.
“It’s at a time when the south west is overrun with kangaroos so there’s an enormous resource there. We’ve been sourcing those roos locally for our baiting campaigns across a lot of the shires, so it’s most disappointing. This was an ideal opportunity and I’m hoping that some sort of solution can be found.”
“It’s been very profitable in the past … the kangaroo economy kept a lot of these towns going,” he confirmed.
Mr McGettigan from Barco Queensland has said that demand for kangaroo meat is increasing and that demand could raise to as many as 1000 kangaroos per day. For now, the meat is being sourced from alternative locations to the Charleville plant.
“We got a box going in at Cunnamulla, there’s one going in at Mitchell, Thargomindah boxes are already set up and in — we were only days away from starting to collect out of that country — then we had a box going down at Bourke,” he said.