Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Minister officially opens Gunbalanya Meatworks

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Member for Lingiari
    Senator Trish Crossin, Senator for the Northern Territory

A new $3 million economic development project in Gunbalanya will create new jobs for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, and improve the supply of fresh, affordable meat to communities in West Arnhem Land.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today officially opened the Gunbalanya Meatworks, which has been re-developed with the support of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Land Corporation.

In an agreement with Gunbalanya Meat Supply Pty Ltd and the Northern Land Council, the Indigenous Land Corporation has committed $3.1 million to support the community-owned meatworks business and floodplain grazing enterprise. The Indigenous Land Corporation will work in partnership with the community over the next 15 years to expand these businesses.

“This injection of funding will make huge improvements to the Gunbalanya meatworks and floodplains grazing enterprise – it will increase the cattle herd from 1,000 to 7,000 and provide bigger and more modern infrastructure so that the Gunbalanya community can enter into the live export cattle trade for the first time,” Ms Macklin said.

“It will provide 28 jobs for local people as trained pastoralists and in fully trained positions at the abattoir.”

Ms Macklin said the Indigenous Land Corporation has built a larger, modern abattoir, new accommodation quarters and water infrastructure, as well as a new Gunbalanya Station homestead and out buildings and laid over 200 kilometres of new fencing to keep the new cattle on the station.

Indigenous Land Corporation Chairperson Shirley McPherson said a total of 800 km^2 of land, including 250 km^2 of black soil floodplain, has been fenced off as grazing pasture, and the overall stock carrying capacity of the property will increase in the future.

“As part of an integrated business model with other Indigenous Land Corporation properties, young stock will be sourced from Strangways/East Elsey and Waliburru and grown and finished at Gunbalanya,” Ms McPherson said.

“Much of the stock from Gunbalanya will be sold for live export. The meatworks will also supply inexpensive, high quality beef and buffalo meat to community stores servicing around 11,000 Indigenous people in Arnhem Land and the island communities east of Darwin.”

Mr Snowdon said the positive outcomes of the project for the local community extended far beyond the profits to be generated by the Gunbalanya Meats and Gunbalanya Station pastoral businesses.

“In embarking on this new journey, the community is drawing on a proud history of working with cattle and the running the meatworks at the local level,” Mr Snowdon said.

“There are significant flow-on social and community benefits to this type of economic development opportunity.”

Senator Crossin said the opening of the Gunbalanya Meatworks marked a move forward towards sustainable development and employment in the East Arnhem community.

“Jobs provide an important foundation for broader community development. It is important that young Indigenous people can see their leaders acting as role models and working hard to make a better future for the community.”