A beef processing plant in Hughenden has moved closer to becoming a reality after a signing ceremony in Brisbane on Wednesday.
The signing was to endorse a development deed between Chinese investment group CNVMIG (Australia) Flinders Shire Council and NorthBEEF Inc to proceed towards the development of the beef facility.
The signing confirms their respective commitment to the development of the 900 hectare Hughenden plant expected to be completed in two years time.
The signing was witnessed by Consul Jiang, Chinese Consulate Brisbane, Austrade officials and signed by Miao Wang, the CEO of CNVMIG, NorthBEEF chair Rob Atkinson, Flinders Shire Council Mayor Jane McNamara and CEO Graham King.
The focus of this new venture is to give the cattle industry a new choice of marketing their product and to expand the economic development of the area.
The Hughenden Processing Facility Development Deed is subject to a number of conditions to be addressed in the next 12 months.
A trip to China in October 2016 saw Mayor McNamara and Mr Atkinson establish a strong relationship with the CNVM investment group and its chair Xinning Wang.
Mayor Jane McNamara said the China trip was a decisive moment in the negotiations.
“Rob and I were able to see firsthand the commitment of the group to the Hughenden project,” the Mayor said.
CNVMIG (Australia) will now proceed with the legislative requirements, construction designs and applications to the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The proposal is for the company to take 100% off take from the facility. NorthBEEF chair Rob Atkinson said his company would secure the cattle.
"This project will increase competition and producer returns, create economic growth, allow better animal welfare, give producers drought mitigation opportunities, and reverse rural and regional depopulation," Mr Atkinson said.
Flinders Shire Council will finalise the land, power, water and road access for the project, expected to create 250 jobs when complete.
The beef processing plant will slaughter cattle and divide carcasses into six portions before snap freezing and sending them out of Townsville port.
The plant is expected to process 180,000 head a year when fully commissioned so the facility will include a feedlot which will expand the economic development of all Shires along the Flinders Highway.