A Central West New South Wales abattoir is back in production, three years after shutting down and shedding more than 30 local jobs.
The Binnaway site, now trading as Binnaway Meat Processing, offers a boost to the local economy facing its third year of drought and limited employment options.
Manager David Stephenson said the new owners had taken a calculated risk to reopen the facility in the midst of a drought and would be starting small to ensure the business stayed open.
“[The new owners] want to make sure they were financially sound and not going to close again tomorrow.”
Offering farm-to-table produce
The abattoir has passed through a few hands over the years and, in 2015, was purchased by Crown State Pastoral Company which abruptly closed just one year later.
But, this has not deterred enthusiasm from butchers in surrounding towns who lost access to a local processor when the facility closed in 2016.
Coonabarabran butcher, Wally Dafter, said at present he relied on two deliveries a week of wholesale meat from the coast, one of those deliveries being an hour’s drive away.
“This offers more choice of what to sell — you can choose what you want, not just what’s on the back of a truck,” he said.
“There’s quite a few farmers that have come into the shop and it would be good to be able to purchase from them.
Boost for local employment, economy
The abattoir has been the first venture in the meat game for Enayat Hassib and his two other Sydney-based business partners who were behind the abattoir’s reopening.
“We’re starting with domestic and service kills, but as we go we’re looking to see if we can get in the export market,” Mr Hassib said.
The facility will employ about 30 people, with plans for this number to increase as the facility grows to access the export market.
“Hopefully we’ll employ mostly locals; give them the opportunity of an income and help the local economy,” Mr Stephenson said.
“Quite a few employees who had previously worked at the abattoir are keen to come back.”
Mr Stephenson and fellow manager, Craig Harris, were two of the first familiar faces to jump on board for the abattoir’s reopening.
“We’ve run it beforehand and if we do a good job and run it efficiently, there is a dollar at the end of the day,” Mr Stephenson said.