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Beef and milk factory planned for Darling Downs

A Toowoomba construction company is seeking council approval
to build an $80 million beef and milk processing facility on Queensland’s
Darling Downs.

The ABC reports that FK Gardiner and Sons (FKG) submitted a
development application to local council to build the facility near Charlton on
the outskirts of Toowoomba.

Group manager of property development with FKG, Dallas
Hunter told the ABC that, if approved, the facility would handle 10,000 head of
cattle a week and employ 300 workers. It could be up and running by 2017.

FKG is best known as a civil construction company. However,
it also has a history of involvement in agriculture. As the Toowoomba Chronicle reports,
the company now runs 11,000 hectares of agricultural property near Cecil Plains
and, as such, is the Darling Downs’
biggest farming company.

Hunter told the Chronicle the new facility would help
diversify the company’s operations.

“With the slowdown in the gas industry, we’re hoping
agriculture might fill the gap,” he said.

“We’re spreading the company as wide as we can as part
of our risk management and diversification.”

He said there was demand for Australian food from overseas
and the produce could be exported from the Wellcamp Airport.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio told the ABC that the airport, along with other other new infrastructure
such as the range crossing and the possibility of inland rail mean Toowoomba
has the potential to become a food processing hub of the future.

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