NEW MARKET: Oakey Beef Exports general manager Pat Gleeson.
NEW MARKET: Oakey Beef Exports general manager Pat Gleeson. Contributed

Darling Downs beef eyes off new Shanghai market

OAKEY Beef Exports is on the cusp of exporting its chilled red meats direct to Shanghai supermarkets from Wellcamp airport.

It's part of the innovative approach the facility takes to remain viable in a globally competitive industry, and one which means jobs and opportunities for locals.

As part of the Australian Meat Processor Corporation campaign to educate and inform, Oakey Beef Exports general manager Pat Gleeson held a guided tour of the facility which employs about 750 people.

"We have a vision to have (the meat) processed on Monday and Tuesday, and have it shelf-ready in Shanghai through Wellcamp on a Thursday," he said.

The facility sources new technologies to transform its operation and allow it to compete against global red meat market drivers such as the US and Brazil.

It's a critical way it can remain competitive, in turn creating jobs.

"We have to be looking at the latest innovative equipment to give us an advantage in that market.

"Our cost structure is far higher than other countries like Brazil and the US - we're paying more for cattle and in wages," Mr Gleeson said.

He said the tour helped correct misconceptions about red meat processing which was a $23 billion industry nationwide and employed about 34,000 people, or 135,000 people indirectly.

"The red meat processing industry is one of Australia's largest manufacturers and food exporters.

"Being able to share an insight into the many rewarding careers available and how we contribute to the local economy is a great opportunity for our community to 'meat' our people and understand more about their local industry.

"Meat processing is a sector all Australians can be proud of and the opportunities for business, jobs and career advancement can't be overstated."