A NEW abattoir to process sheep and goat meat, which would inject up to $1 billion into the local economy, has been proposed for the Goulburn Valley.
Australian construction and consulting company EI Group has proposed to develop the meatworks facility at the site of a former 161ha dairy farm at Gillieston, outside Mooroopna.
The abattoir would source sheep and goat meat locally, saving on the transport of livestock to Ararat, Stawell and Kyneton.
Meatworks Australia project director Raed Elmasri said the facility would export interstate and overseas and create upwards of 150 jobs in construction, trades, engineering, processing and administration.
Mr Elmasri said the company had spent the past two years searching for appropriate sites across the country, settling on the Goulburn Valley because of its proximity to livestock and the Hume Hwy.
He said the operation would inject up to $1 billion into the local economy in five years and expected the operation to be in full swing in the next 18 months, if approved.
‘‘The reason we decided to go down this path is because we do see that agriculture is the future of Australia, that there is enormous food demand in international markets,’’ Mr Elmasri said.
‘‘We’re looking to source the meat from local farmers and we’re looking to meet with farmers about whether we can get contracts in place.’’
The company is drawing up plans to submit to Greater Shepparton City Council and has made inquiries with the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria.
Greater Shepparton City Council planning and building manager Colin Kalms confirmed the department had been approached by the company.
‘‘The planning department have informed that planning permission would be required for use and development and have informed of what would be required to be submitted with the application,’’ Mr Kalms said.