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Abattoir on track for mid-year opening

Inset: Livestock Manager for Thomas Foods International, Paul Leonard. PHOTOs TWH

The opening of Bourke’s long awaited goat abattoir is on track to commence operation by June or July of this year.

Thomas Foods International, the Adelaide based family company behind the rebooted venture, is confident of starting production in mid-2022.

Staff recruitment is already underway, and two locals are already employed.

The first employee is Edward “Burger” Johnson, a Bourke local, who is the resident livestock buyer and currently caretaking the facility as it gears up to commence production.

Initial estimates are that the facility will employ 80 people to begin with and will build up to 120.

Thomas Foods International Livestock Manager, Peter Leonard, said that the company is hoping to be able to hire as many employees as possible from the local area.

However, it is expected that the shortfall will be made up by visiting worker visa holders and some skilled workers from outside the district.

“We are currently looking at solutions for employee accommodation in Bourke, to house those workers.

“We have commenced a strategic process of starting to employ some locals and are in a position now to start talking to locals about employment opportunities.

“We encourage anyone that is looking for work to contact us, and if they are unskilled, we will train them,” Mr Leonard said.

There is some remedial work that will be taking place in the next few weeks on the facility, but it is not considered to be major work.

In the next 12 to 18 months there will be a need for two or three major capital works programs to go ahead, but they are not essential to production starting on schedule.

The construction of onsite freezing and cold storage plus a new rendering plant are the main capital projects, and these will happen offsite in the short term.

Rendering, the process of processing all the offal, will take place at the Thomas Foods Tamworth facility after the offal is carted to Tamworth.

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