Maranoa Council votes on controversial meatworks project
ONE of the most ambitious industrial projects in Southwest Queensland is yet another step closer with Maranoa Regional Council voting to prepare a report for a publicly owned, private label meatworks.
Councillor Cameron O’Neil said a council briefing of the project happened last week, but there’s no resolution of the report yet.
Mayor Tyson Golder moved that a report be prepared for the establishment of the publicly owned meatworks project.
“I believe we need a private label meatworks,” Cr Golder said.
“I believe that the majority of the people from the Maranoa would like to see the economic development to come from the meatworks.
“I believe this is an opportunity because we have the largest saleyards in Australia, that this will be the model that will grow your own.
“I believe this is the way that we can build up the sector of our economy.”
But the proposition didn’t come without controversy.
Councillor Cameron O’Neil took a more conservative stance, advocating that the meatworks should be owned by private enterprise rather than council.
“I’m not speaking against a private label meatworks and in fact, I would support it,” Cr O’Neil said.
“What I don’t support is a Council-owned private label meatworks.
“Since 2013, the Maranoa Regional Council has been advocating for the diversification of our industry bases here, and one of those diversifications includes the establishment of a meatworks.
“I think we should be out there advocating for private enterprise, advocating for what private enterprise does best, and that is to invest in opportunities where they can grow business, make profit, and out community would benefit from that because there’ll be opportunities and there will be jobs.”
Cr O’Neil said the council didn’t have the funds for a publicly owned meatworks project.
Councillor Johanne Hancock said the council shouldn’t be competing against the private sector.
But Cr Golder said the plan for a privately owned meatworks has failed, given that one isn’t currently running.
“If you’re not in favour of a council-owned meatworks, you may not also be in favour of a council-owned saleyards, because on the same basis that could be owned by private enterprise,” he said.
“I believe the council-owned facility brings stability.”
The resolution passed 6 - 3, with Crs O’Neil, Hancock and Wendy Taylor voting against.