NORMANVILLE Abattoirs has come into focus ahead of the federal election with Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie calling on both major parties to commit to a $6 million federal government loan to allow a private operator to upgrade to an export standard facility.
The Centre Alliance MP made the call this week following a recent meeting with representatives of the Malaysian owners Ternakan Kamran Exports.
"TKE bought this facility in 2015 with the ambition of expanding its retail meat market in Malaysia by having their own abattoir in Australia, and yet four years down the track this job-creating project is languishing for lack of modest government support to bring the abattoir up to Australian standards," Ms Sharkie said.
"At a state government level, both the major parties have sat on their hands with regards to this job-creating enterprise.
"TKE has spent several million dollars already on the facility, working with the local council and the Environmental Protection Agency, but I have been advised by company representatives that they will need lending assistance to completely rebuild the place.
"We've already lost the solar thermal plant project in SA because of a lack of financial backing from the private sector."
Ms Sharkie said the credit squeeze in the financial sector, put the pressure on the federal government to help local livestock producers and increase the export-grade meat processing capacity in SA.
TK is a Malaysian-based global company that has been operating since the 1920s.
Its SA-based arm, Ternakan Kamran Exports, bought the Normanville abattoir in 2015 and has spent the past three years developing a "rebuilding" proposal for the site.
The company has spent nearly $3m on the $10m proposal and is seeking government assistance for capital upgrades through grants or a loan.
If the project goes ahead, the rebuilt abattoir is expected to generate 30 full-time equivalent jobs in the first phase with an extra 30 FTE jobs after phase two.
Phase one of the project aims to upgrade the abattoir to process 5500 lambs, mutton and goats a week.
Ms Sharkie said agriculture was one of the biggest economic drivers in the Yankalilla region and livestock production was the biggest contributor to that sector.
"Abattoir jobs are local jobs, secure jobs that will address employment issues in our community while also improving competition for our farmers on the Fleurieu and on Kangaroo Island," she said.
"I have met with the Yankalilla District Council and the representatives from TKE to discuss the abattoir rebuild and I've had some preliminary discussions at a Federal level.
"We now need a commitment from both the major parties to consider the proposal.
"If the Government can commit a further $7 million for supporting roadworks for Thomas Foods in Murray Bridge, then a loan that could increase competition in the meat processing industry in SA is not an unreasonable proposition."