An Australian Government funded project that will allow cattle producers to grow the beef industry in Central Queensland has moved a step closer to completion.
The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has announced it has reached the ‘contractual close’ stage for a $24 million loan to Signature Onfarm Pty Ltd.
The loan will be used to build a $37 million specialist beef processing facility and on-site employee accommodation near the Queensland town of Clermont.
Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said it was the first NAIF loan to reach the contractual close stage in Central Queensland.
It means contracts have been signed, including by the Queensland Government, and soon the proponent can draw on the NAIF loan.
Minister Pitt said the Signature Onfarm Project would be used by local cattle producers and other beef companies to process cattle at an abattoir located closer to their farm.
“The result will be increased carcass yields for producers and, ultimately, growth for the central Queensland premium beef brand,” Minister Pitt said.
“The project is forecast to benefit the broader Clermont community to the tune of more than $63 million.
“It’s going to create 200 construction jobs and up to 70 ongoing jobs, and allow the transport and sale of central Queensland premium beef to both domestic and overseas markets.
“It’s also going to create training and development opportunities for local young people in the beef industry, and opportunities for Indigenous employment and Indigenous business participation in the beef supply chain,” Minister Pitt said.
Assistant Minister for Northern Australia and Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said the funding represented the joint commitment of the Commonwealth Government and NAIF to lift regional economies and boost regional jobs.
“This is an investment in local families and communities. This loan will encourage more investment in Central Queensland and assist our graziers in opening up tangible opportunities in new domestic and export markets.
“Central Queensland beef is top quality and the envy of many beef-producing countries.
“With this beef processing facility in Clermont, Central Queensland will be centre stage in providing domestic and export markets with products that meet modern day consumer tastes,” Ms Landry said.
It is being developed by the Angus family, an industry leader in the cattle industry in Australia.
“This project is very important to our region, one of the largest beef producing regions in Australia with no local processing in our shire,” Signature Beef co-owner Josie Angus said.
“Adding local processing capacity, coupled with the provision of service processing to allow more producers to take their own branded products direct to market, is a key feature of this development.”
NAIF has now committed $915 million in Queensland through Investment Decisions, supporting over 2,200 jobs.
The total value of NAIF’s loan commitments is nearly $2 billion, across 17 Investment Decisions in Northern Australia, and two conditional approvals.