Abattoir entities in receivership

AFTER almost four weeks in limbo, Leitch Pastoral Group announced yesterday their three meat entities – Killarney Abattoir, Pittsworth Food Processors and Condamine River Meats – had gone into voluntary administration.

The businesses are now under the control of administrator Michael McCann from the Brisbane-based accounting firm Grant Thornton.

Mr McCann said operations at the Killarney and Pittsworth abattoirs would remain suspended.

“As the administrators we will not be restarting operations,” he said.

“But we do understand the Leitch Pastoral Group director is likely to place the abattoir facilities up for sale.

“From what we know he has already made moves to seek out possible purchasers.

“Obviously the position of abattoir employees will remain uncertain and dependent on someone acquiring the processing facilities.”

Meanwhile Mr McCann said his role was to ensure the best outcome for all creditors, including employees.

“We are optimistic once we recover outstanding dues, that employee entitlements will be met,” he said.

Mr McCann said his company would be communicating via mail with all affected employees during the next week.

A meeting for more than 100 creditors owed “significant amounts” by Leitch Pastoral Group has been organised in Brisbane for March 11.

“This will be a procedural meeting to start the process of recovering funds for stakeholders,” Mr McCann said.

“I am not in a position to be specific, but obviously there are millions of dollars owed to creditors.”

The news of the voluntary administration was yesterday met with a mix of relief and frustration by those on the processing sector frontline.

Leitch Pastoral Group operations manager Rob Doro said the decision would “hopefully provide the direction needed” so employees, creditors and the community could move forward.

“For almost four weeks the businesses have been in limbo, which has been frustrating for those involved,” Mr Doro said.

“But the truth is I am disappointed in the outcome.”

Another Killarney meatworker, who has been in work limbo since being stood down in early February, yesterday admitted to some relief on hearing the news.

“It doesn’t mean our financial situation will improve anytime soon, but at least we know,” the worker, who did not wish to be named, said.

“I can’t sleep at night worrying about what I’ll do, so I sure as hell hope Dudley isn’t getting any rest.”

Mr Leitch was unavailable when contacted by the Daily News yesterday.

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