Barco sus­pends ac­tiv­ity

Roo abat­toir stops work amid pub­lic health and safety con­cerns

Western Times - - NEWS - Mar­guerite Cud­dihy Mar­guerite.Cud­dihy@west­ern­

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.

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