New chook farm may set up here

FORTY initial jobs and a $25 million injection to the Southern Downs economy could be on the cards, with a large-scale poultry-rearing company looking to set up shop in our region.

The Southern Downs Regional Council economic development unit is currently in talks with a major central-NSW chicken-growing company, which has been in operation for more than 20 years, about setting up a facility in our region.

Economic development officer John Randall said he was confident, provided the company could find the right land, that they would start an operation on the Southern Downs.

“This is an established company, which literally grows millions of chickens a year in central NSW and supplies the Sydney and Brisbane markets,” he said.

“Because of demand on them from their customers, they need another chicken-rearing facility as soon as possible.

“This is not something that will be talked about or be on the drawing board for the next two or three years, this is a private company that has already made the decision to move.”

He said as the project was still very much in the planning stages, the company did not wish to be identified.

The operation, if set up, will see the firm build 15 sheds to house the chickens and also have an onsite hatchery.

Mr Randall said they were looking for a large chunk, or maybe several pieces, of land which would need to have excellent road access and good water supplies.

“We’ve facilitated meetings with our planning people and we are working to get the appropriate planning approvals through,” he said.

Mr Randall said the Southern Downs was an ideal location for this kind of operation, given its close proximity to the processing plants and markets in Brisbane.

“We certainly have the space here and we have a planning scheme which allows for development such as this,” he said.

“Because Warwick is an established transport hub and trucks are going to Brisbane every day, back-loading isn’t an issue. What affects chicken growers is cost to market, because the truck comes back empty, but in our region surely we can get some synergy with the existing players.

“Also our cost of land is an advantage; it is so much cheaper than in the urban areas.”

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