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New Geraldton meatworks owners on recruitment drive to get site up and running

Headshot of Aidan Smith
Aidan SmithCountryman
A flock of Merino wethers. Zach Relph
Camera IconA flock of Merino wethers. Zach Relph Credit: Zach Relph/Countryman

A recruitment drive is under way to get the Geraldton Meat Exports facility up and running again after new owner Al Qudsi Agri Group took over the unused premise to supply chilled and frozen meat products to customers in Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East.

Group executive director Syed Ghazaly hopes to recruit 50 staff from the local community or State, as well as attracting visa holders from overseas to fill a variety of positions by early 2024.

Mr Ghazaly took to LinkedIn to attract resumes from those who have “valid working visas in Australia and would want to seek employment”.

“We are beginning to offer jobs,” he said.

Roles advertised include a Halal slaughter person, knife hands, boners, butchers, as well as skilled meat workers, cleaners, technicians and packers.

Al Qudsi Agri Group has changed the name of the facility to Al-Q Meats Export and is hoping to process 1000 sheep per day by February after undertaking some repairs and upgrades of the plant, which hasn’t been operating since 2018.

The 32 hectare site, located 16 kilometres east of Geraldton, had previously been Australia Quarantine Inspection Service-approved for a host of export markets.

This included Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Canada, Jamaica, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Tier 2 export plant has a processing capacity of 2500 sheep and 400 goats per day.

Mr Ghazaly said the company had customers were lined up in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East and he would aim to process the maximum 2500 head per day of mostly chilled and frozen, sheep, mutton and lamb for those markets.

Despite a number of WA sheep producers destocking due to the dry seasonal conditions in the Mid West region, low sheep prices and live export uncertainty impacting the number of producers planning to stay in the industry, Mr Ghazaly was confident he’d be able to source enough supply to meet the expectations of his customers.

“Of course, we have to put that as one of our challenges, but I will be having my own sheep station so I will be [breeding] as many as possible,” he told the ABC.

“The supply will be there. We have 14 million sheep (in WA).”

The Geraldton Meat Exports abattoir was one of two mortgagee sales (along with the Waroona Abattoir) on the market through CBRE agent Phil Melville on behalf of Iranian businessman Mahmoud Parastesh, of the International Meat Co Pty Ltd.

Mr Melville is still seeking expressions of interest for the Waroona site.

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