Thursday, October 20, 2011

AAco Food Processing Facility Community Update

Australian Agricultural Company Limited’s (AAco) development application to build a meat processing facility at Livingstone Valley is on public display and the community and stakeholders have until Friday 4 November to make submissions to the Development Consent Authority.

If you are seeking more information about the proposal, please do not hesitate to contact us for a briefing or to ask questions. Our information line is 8941 9161.

Individual and Stakeholder Briefings

Over the past two weeks we have met with neighbours, stakeholders, Litchfield Shire Council, MPs, Indigenous groups and other people interested in hearing more about the project. In meeting some of our neighbours, we have been able to hear their suggestions on how they would like the facility to operate if approved. For example, some neighbours have asked that trees not be planted adjacent to their properties while others had suggestions about operational hours for trucks delivering cattle. These valuable suggestions will be taken on board in our forward planning.

Community Stall at Coolalinga Markets

Last weekend AAco’s General Manager, Northern Australia Beef, Stewart Cruden, met local community members at the Coolalinga Markets. Many questions were asked on a range of issues including water treatment, how cattle will be managed and potential odour sources. Because of the importance of these questions, we have included additional information in this update.


All waste water will be treated on site before being used for irrigation of fodder production crops. The 600 hectare property is currently used for fodder cropping and cattle grazing.

The process for treatment includes:
  • All solids are removed from the waste water streams before treatment. This is a key aspect to successful effluent treatment.
  • Waste water is first treated for 14 days in an anaerobic pond. The pond capacity is 15 ML and will be covered to enhance the biological process and stop odours.
  • Waste water is then moved to an aerobic treatment pond with a capacity of 20 ML, for a further 20 days treatment.
  • Water then moves to a large holding dam (160 ML). At this stage the water is treated to an approved standard for irrigating the land. It does contain traces of nitrogen and phosphate.
  • The treated irrigation water is mixed with rain water collected in holding dams (200 ML) in concentrations (water balance) suitable for controlled irrigation for pasture production.
  • The Environmental Monitoring Program which includes soils, pasture and effluent water will ensure the control of hydraulic and nutrients balance, for the crops being irrigated.
There will be careful monitoring of ground water throughout the site and beyond to measure quality. This also includes ground water coming into the site.

Cattle Management
Around 50-100 cattle will be allowed to graze on the property as a means of keeping vegetation under control in areas that cannot be cropped for fodder. Currently up to 1000 cattle are free-range grazing on the property. The wetland area on the property will be fenced off so that cattle cannot reach it as this area will be managed as a conservation zone.
Cattle for meat production will be held in holding yards (not feeding yards) immediately adjacent to the facility. The plan is to bring cattle into the yards on the day or day before they are to be processed. The cattle yards are on hard stand to reduce dust and for “dry cleaning” management practices. The manure will be collected and composted, further improving the raw waste water quality that needs to be treated. The holding capacity is up to 2000 cattle but average hold numbers will be around 1000 cattle at a time.
Halal Processing
AAco has confirmed that the plant will be Halal. There are a number of requirements to meet this standard, including the employment of two qualified Halal slaughtermen on each shift. Cattle will be electrically stunned as is best-practice animal welfare management.
Vehicle Movements
All vehicle movements to and from the proposed facility will be via the Stuart Highway. No access is required from other local roads. Truck movements will be limited to “sociable” hours – likely to be from around 6am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sundays. We are discussing these times with local neighbours. All roads and driveways within the site will be sealed and speed will be controlled to limit noise.
No Plans for Worker Accommodation
There are no plans to house workers on site during either construction or operations. For the construction, we are planning to contract work to Northern Territory companies. Our preference during the operational stage is to employ local people, as this will give us a more stable and committed workforce. A training program will be necessary to help us achieve this.
Compost at the site will consist of paunch content and manure. This will be held in a compost pile at least 1km from the closest boundary. Current best practice dictates the compost heap should be 100m from the closest boundary. We will be using best-practice management to minimise odours from the pile.
The pile will be occasionally turned and this is the time when odours may occur. However, we will be undertaking this task when prevailing breezes are able to carry any smells away from nearby properties and at times that will least affect residents and recreational activity.
A number of people have asked how they can get jobs at the facility. If the project goes ahead, we will be posting this information on our website.
Stay Up to Date
If you would like to receive regular updates on the facility as we progress through the approvals process, please join our email list by visiting our website at or phoning our information line on 8941 9161.


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