Abattoir concerns aired

By Geoff Adams

Neighbours of the proposed new Gillieston abattoir are worried about dust, noise, odour, drainage, traffic and biosecurity issues.

Objectors turned out for a meeting called by the Environment Protection Authority in Shepparton last week.

Meatworks Australia has applied for works approval from the Environment Protection Authority for an abattoir that can process up to 3000 head of sheep per day and employ up to 120 full-time staff.

Many of the objectors are neighbours of the former 160ha dairy farm property located on Mooroopna-Lancaster Rd.

About 12 objectors attended Wednesday night’s meeting at the Greater Shepparton City Council offices and participated in discussions about planning issues.

Some neighbours were unhappy that the abattoir would occupy farming land and some voiced concerns that some details of the proposal had changed.

Project director Raed Elmasri attended the conference and told Country News the abattoir would create a significant economic boost for the region and would be an asset for sheep producers.

However, the project could take several years before it was operational, following planning approvals, design and construction.

Mr Elmasri, from Melbourne, said they would be employing professionals with experience in the industry to run the operation.

Neighbour Russell Thomson was happy with the conduct of the meeting and felt that his concerns had been listened to.

Mr Thomson, who has horses on the adjoining property, was concerned about dust and mud generated on the property because of the large volume of stock that would be going through the abattoir.

‘‘With 3000 head going through, you would need up to 9000 head on the place,’’ Mr Thomson said.

‘‘We’re hoping the EPA will make sure the company does the right thing.’’

The EPA told the conference the next step was for a technical assessment of the application, followed by an assessment of the material produced in submissions and from the conference.

The council will then have to make a decision on the planning permit.