THE Gunnedah shire has played host to a delegation of Chinese business representatives who have explored the possibility of a potential new abattoir for the region.
The delegation represented a major Chinese company heavily involved with the beef supply for the country and visited several of the region’s beef facilities such as the Gunnedah Saleyards.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey told The Namoi Valley Independent the visit was a direct result of Namoi Unlimited Joint Organisation (JO)’s visit to China in March.
“This group of investors are predominantly from one large Chinese company based out of Nanjing which is located on the central east coast of China,” Cr Chaffey said.
"They are a company that showed an enormous interest in abattoir projects back in March when Gunnedah participated along with the seven mayors from Namoi Unlimited JO in doing trade and investment seminars in China."
Cr Chaffey said the company has shown a “genuine interest” in the Gunnedah region.
"Just before I flew home I actually sat and talked to the board more about this actual project and other opportunities in Gunnedah before I came back in March,” he said.
“So now it is fantastic to see that their interest is so great that they have taken the time to come to Gunnedah, into our region and basically ground truth all of the information that we shared with them that this is a great location for the establishment of an export grade abattoir."
During their visit the delegates gathered at a Gunnedah cattle farm for lunch and a meeting with Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson.
Mr Coulton said a lot of positives came from the meeting.
“Obviously it’s early stages at the moment and nothing is set in stone but to me they seemed very interested in potentially doing business in the shire,” Mr Coulton said.
“They are a serious business and don’t seem like tyre kickers to me, this company seemed to me to have a strong idea of what they were after.
“Honestly I feel like the delegates will have taken a lot of positives from their visit to the region.”
Cr Chaffey said a decision regarding the project would not “happen overnight”.
“During their visit the delegates asked a lot of questions about the shire and while we were able to answer most of them at the time there are some answers that will take a little bit of time to put together,” he said.
“They made it very clear that they are considering doing business in Australia and are strongly considering Gunnedah as a location.
“They also made a commitment to us to be prompt in a decision regarding this project, at this point it is not possible to say exactly when a decision will be made but we are confident that when a decision is reached we will know about it.
“As a council were are working very hard doing whatever we can to make this happen, while we know it won’t happen overnight, and without getting everyone’s hopes up we are pleased with how the delegates visit went and are looking forward to their response regarding the potential project in the coming weeks.”