Killarney Abattoir.
Killarney Abattoir.

Killarney Abattoir's future unsure

Dead or alive?

Tenders for the former Leitch Pastoral Group meat entities – Killarney Abattoir and Pittsworth Food Processing plant – close at 5pm tomorrow.

Selling agents expect to have a clear idea of the outcome by Friday, May 28

Whether the Killarney Abattoir ever reopens could be known by Friday next week.

Tenders for the embattled Killarney and Pittsworth meat processing plants formally close at 5pm tomorrow.

Yesterday selling agents for the former Leitch Pastoral Group owned entities said the future of both plants could be clear by the end of next week.

Ray White Rural's Queensland principal Andrew Adcock said the plants had attracted “good inquiry from within Australia”.

“Tenders for the businesses, which are being offered as two separate entities, close tomorrow and I would anticipate negotiations would start soon after,” Mr Adcock said.

“I believe it is very possible we will know the outcome by Friday next week.”

Mr Adcock wouldn't be drawn on the number of buyers, who had expressed formal interest in either the Killarney Abattoir or the Pittsworth Food Processing plant.

The saga for the Leitch Pastoral Group operated meat businesses began when the company stood down meatworkers in February.

By April the two businesses had gone into formal liquidation.

This week local member Lawrence Springborg released information to the Daily News obtained after a question on notice to Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development Andrew Fraser.

The questions related to local rumours Leitch Pastoral Group director Dudley Leitch continued operating Killarney Abattoir although he was insolvent.

In his reply Mr Fraser said a business review organised by the Queensland Government last year and overseen by Brisbane-based accountancy firm Grant Thornton came at a cost of $88,771.96.

Mr Fraser said the review recommended a short-term action plan and long-term restructuring in the interests of maintaining jobs.

The minister said the report did not recommend closure of the local abattoir nor did it indicate Leitch Pastoral Group was insolvent.

When both plants went into liquidation earlier this year it was with a creditor debt in excess of $8 million.

Today many Southern Downs business operators are still owed significant amounts by the Leitch Pastoral Group.

Within the agricultural sector there are now real fears the group's farming enterprises could also be struggling.

A former group employee confirmed yesterday that Leitch's pastoral operation was operating with “just a skeleton staff”.

He said yet another employee in a middle management role in the Wheatvale area had been stood down yesterday.

“What used to be a management team is now just Dudley, his daughter and a lawyer, so the rest of the staff are understandably nervous,” he said.

Mr Leitch had not returned calls from the Daily News last night.

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