Waroona Abattoir remains for sale in a sign of tough conditions for WA’s meat processing industry

Aidan Smith & Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The Waroona abattoir is for sale by CBRE.
Camera IconThe Waroona abattoir is for sale by CBRE. Credit: Supplied/Prime Meat Co

A Waroona abattoir remains on the market more than seven months after it first went up for sale despite the Federal’s Government’s push to increase the amount of meat processing in Australia.

The situation exposes the harsh reality of the WA industry, with the facility one of four in the State for sale.

The Waroona Abattoir sale is being managed by CBRE’s Peter Melville as a mortgagee sell-off alongside the Geraldton Meat Exports abattoir, which are both owned by Iranian businessman Mahmoud Parastesh.

Mr Melville declined to comment on the properties, but it is understood Mr Parastesh had purchased both the abattoirs, along with the Gingin Abattoir, in order to supply the Iranian market.

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After investing about $1m in the Gingin Abattoir he decided to sell it in order to fund upgrades to the other two sites, which he had failed to find enough financial backing for.

High energy and labour costs, supply issues, as well as a lack of investor funding, have been the main reasons behind the situation, according to Elders Real Estate agent Greg Smith.

The issue highlights the lack of foresight in the Federal Government’s decision to ban the live sheep trade in favour of more onshore processing.

“It’s a tough business,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s only a margin business — you have to be working at capacity everyday because you have fixed costs that remain the same.”

He said because of the energy and labour costs involved in the sector, when there was a shortage of supply, it could easily send a small business to the wall financially, unless it had some cash in reserve to carry it through.

Waroona Abattoir used to be one of the State’s biggest meat processors but has been shut since 2009 and has had multiple owners in the period since.

Billionaire Gina Rinehart took ownership of the facility in 2014 as part of a deal to buy two pastoral stations in the Kimberley, before she sold it to Mr Parastesh’s Prime Meat Co in 2018.

The abattoir was scheduled to reopen last year before those plans were mothballed.

Australind’s Goodchild Abattoir was sold to Western Meat Packers Group last year for about $1.1 million, four years after it was placed into voluntary administration.

The WA Meat Industry Authority lists 28 licensed abattoirs in WA, including four WA College of Agriculture sites, Murdoch University, Karnet Prison Farm and Konynen Farm at Baldivis which is set up for only rabbits.

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