Barco suspends activity
Roo abattoir stops work amid public health and safety concerns
A KANGAROO processing company in Charleville has been forced to halt operations after Safe Food Queensland placed a suspension on activity, affecting 17 workers.
Barco Queensland, which leases the Warrego Roo Supplies abattoir on Old Cunnamulla Rd, has temporarily shut its doors.
Barco Queensland general manager Daniel McGettigan confirmed the processing plant’s closure. The abattoir had only opened in March after signing a three-year lease with the owner of the Warrego Roo Supplies building.
“SFQ did an inspection on June 1 and it was shut down on June 8,” he said.
“Warrego Roo Supplies don’t supply to us, we lease the space off them and have our own local manager and staff on the ground out there.”
Mr McGettigan said Barco Queensland had 17 people on the books in Charleville and he hoped to get the facility back up and running as soon as possible.
“We’re planning to reopen really quickly and there’s nothing that can’t ever be fixed,” he said.
“SFQ contacted the owner of Warrego Roo Supplies because they’ve got to contact the person whose name the accreditation is in.”
Mr McGettigan said he was eager to see the business grow in the south-west.
“We’ve got boxes going in everywhere around the region at Thargomindah, Cunnamulla and Mitchell that we’ll buy out of there and have skinned at Charleville before they’re further processed at Helensvale,” he said.
“We’ve been well supported by the shooters, the town people and the councils with their dingo bait orders – everyone has really got behind it.”
SFQ general manager for compliance, strategy and response Phil Pond said the issues highlighted were a matter of public health and safety.
“There were formal inspectors who put information to us and there were a lot of issues raised by other operators in the area about particular practices at this plant,” he said.
Mr Pond said SFQ did not take any issues or allegations lightly.
“It’s not victimisation toward the accredited owner, that’s not our core. We’re responsible for the public’s health and safety,” he said.
“We have had correspondence with the owner saying they have taken steps to address the concerns we’ve put to them and they are totally in control.”
As for whether or not the plant would reopen, Mr Pond said he had every expectation that it would.
“The plant has been operating well until recently and we are working very closely with the owner who has been highly co-operative,” he said.
Murweh Mayor Annie Liston said she hoped the closing of the abattoir was only temporary.
“It would be a real devastation and loss to our community if it was permanently shut down. We don’t want to see that happen to any of our businesses in town,” she said.
Barco Queensland is owned by Gold Coast-based pet food manufacturer Millennium Pet Foods, which has processing plant facilities at Helensvale.