Goat's up: $60m Bourke facility put on the market

Bourke abattoir owners blame drought, goat supply, for sale

Rain and drought have both been blamed at times for the lack of goats forcing the suspension of the Bourke abattoir operations, now for sale.

Rain and drought have both been blamed at times for the lack of goats forcing the suspension of the Bourke abattoir operations, now for sale.


Coulton says he's "very disappointed" abattoir is not open


Bourke's new $60m small animal abattoir has been put on the market with its owners blaming the drought and "statutory" hold-ups for upsetting its dream of being a major goat processor.

Local Federal MP for Parkes, Mark Coulton, who backed the original project, said he was "very disappointed" the abattoir was being sold.

The Federal Government invested $10m from the National Stronger Regions Fund in the small animal abattoir. Bourke Shire Council also put in $10m.

Mr Coulton in a statement for The Land said it appeared it wasn't just the drought that had hurt the operation.

"I am very disappointed the abattoir isn't up and running as predicted. I am not sure of all the reasons within the company, but drought clearly played a role in that," he said.

"I am not backing away from my support at the time, I think it was done for the right reasons and I think that Bourke Shire Council supported it for the right reasons as well.

"If the sale means it is going to go to someone that has the expertise to manage it as a small stock abattoir, then that's a good outcome, but it needs to be operating."

The abattoir was closed in May last year only five months after it opened. At that stage, rain, not the drought, was blamed for goat contractors being unable to get goats into the facility. The abattoir owners had promised numerous times to reopen since but has since decided to exit the industry.

In a statement provided by the owners, CAPRA Developments and Darling River Goat Exports Pty Ltd, they stated : "The owners of Bourke Small Stock Abattoir have recently engaged international transaction firm CBRE Agribusiness to conduct an expression of interest process to identify interested parties in acquiring or investing in the business and/or assets associated with the facility.

"Since commencing operations in January 2019 the business has experienced challenging times. Extended processes to meet statutory and market requirements, along with extreme seasonal conditions impacting livestock supply, have weighed on resources.

"Therefore the owners have decided to seek open interest in the facility. They are determined to see the 6000 head/day facility fully operational, given its state-of-the-art technology, advantageous position to provide Western NSW goat and sheep producers with an alternative path to export, and important opportunity to provide work for people at Bourke and the surrounding areas.

"CAPRA Developments and Darling River Meats is appreciative of the Bourke communities' ongoing support and patience over this period. Updates will be provided should there be further developments."

Bourke Shire mayor Barry Holman said the council was saddened the abattoir was being sold but was confident a new operator could get it up and running again.

Mr Holman said the abattoir was built at probably in one of the most difficult of circumstances going into the drought. He said he had it on good authority that goat numbers were building up quickly after a turn in the seasons and was hopeful any new operator would have access to good supply. The abattoir was also strongly placed to process mutton.

He said it would take some time for the abattoir to recommence production mainly due to again having to source about up to 100 employees.

He was uncertain where the council's $10m investment would sit after a possible sale and was in discussion with Mr Coulton's office about how council's investment might be covered in the sale process. Council's legal team may be needed to sort out whatever difficulties could flow in the future, if the abattoir doesn't reopen.

"We hope our investments are okay," he said. "We're very hopeful a new investor will be found." He hadn't heard of any expressions of interest as of yet. Capra had given council a couple of weeks notice before the sale was publicised.


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