Working to strengthen King Island economy Wed 12 September 2012 Bryan Green Acting Premier The State Government is working to assist King Island beef producers to move stock off the island following this week's closure of the abattoir. Acting Premier Bryan Green said today it was a critical issue for farmers affected by the shutdown of the island's only meat processor. "The Government is facilitating an urgent meeting of farmers, Tasports and transport operators on the island next week to look at the logistics of moving stock," Mr Green said. "We need to deal with any issues around getting stock off the island bearing in mind it is expected to peak in around three months. "The Government did everything possible to help keep the abattoir operating but in the end it was a commercial decision of the company. "It is important that meat processing operations are consolidated on mainland Tasmania and that the world-renowned King Island brand is retained. After meeting the King Island Council this afternoon, Mr Green said the Government would also immediately look at a new partnership agreement to identify economic development opportunities. "The closure of the abattoir presents challenges for the island but it is a resilient community and the Government will continue working to maintain the economy. "These are difficult times for the local community but there are positives on the horizon for the island with good prospects for mining, renewable energy and tourism," Mr Green said. Mr Green said re-opening of the scheelite mine at Grassy would be a welcome boost. "The Premier will be talking to potential partners for the project on her trade mission in China and we are hopeful the project will come to fruition. Mr Green said King Island Scheelite (KIS) planned to resume mining with a tailings re-treatment operation next year followed by the development an underground mine the year after. "The development of the mine and processing operation would provide a major boost to the local economy and employment prospects. Mr Green said Hydro Tasmania was also committed to developing renewable energy opportunities through the $48.85 million King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP). "We are expanding the wind farm with two additional turbines and the power station is being upgraded ready for new generating and energy storage equipment. Mr Green said the Government was subsidising energy costs on King Island by almost $7 million this financial year under its Community Service Obligation. "Hydro Tasmania was working with JBS to reduce its energy costs and although significant savings were identified the company still felt it was not a viable operation," Mr Green said.