MOVING FORWARD: Standing in front of his rendering plant, the second generation Carey Bros meat processor Greg Carey hopes to usher in new development for the abattoir.
MOVING FORWARD: Standing in front of his rendering plant, the second generation Carey Bros meat processor Greg Carey hopes to usher in new development for the abattoir.

Abattoir expansion to turn ‘worthless’ waste into jobs

AN INNOVATIVE approach to discarding surplus hides is set to bring more jobs to the Southern Downs.

Thanks to $250,000 in state funding as part of the Rural Economic Development Grants program, Yangan abattoir Carey Brothers Abattoir will be able to install a pressurised by-product batch cooker to convert the animal product into meat meal protein.

While cattle hides are sold to the overseas leather market, a rise in cheaper synthetic material has seen a considerable drop in demand for the 1300-1500 hides the abattoir processes annually.

Owner Greg Carey said it was a project he had wanted the abattoir to embark on for a while, after seeing other NSW abattoirs take up the idea.

The business already makes the meal for pigs and poultry, but the new cooker will increase production significantly.

"We've done trials cooking our hides because otherwise they're worthless," Mr Carey said.

"I have to pay for them to be taken away from the abattoir. You can't bury them, you can't burn them and at the moment, I can't cook them.

"We needed to have this new equipment for the future."

During the course of the multi-year project, Mr Carey said a possible 10 jobs would be created, even as coronavirus momentarily slowed down a start date.

"It will be good for the community of Warwick," he said.

"We already employ 37 people and I will make sure locals have the opportunity to get jobs at every step along the way.

"We will have an increase in staff but, with the coronavirus, getting equipment to carry out the new project has been difficult, and our milestones have been deferred."

Still, it was a project never even possible without a state commitment to agriculture.

"We've never had any government assistance ever so we're stoked to get this funding," Mr Carey said.

If we hadn't got this amount of money, I don't know how we'd have been able to fund the project."

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the expansion of the longstanding business could not come at a better time for the region.

"Carey Brothers is a family-owned business that's been operating for over 75 years," Mr Furner said.

"We know the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tough for a lot of businesses and communities, so these additional jobs will be most welcome."

Fourteen businesses have received $3.34 million in the second round of RED grants.

Downs businesses include Schmidt Grazing Enterprises and Inglewood Organics.

For more information, visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au