Honouring a commitment
On January 3, 2018 the Thomas Foods International Murray Bridge processing plant was destroyed by fire. Most importantly, all our staff were safely evacuated and no-one was injured. This event presented our family company with significant challenges, which I’m very proud to say we have overcome.
The morning after the fire broke out, I made a public statement that we’d be back “bigger, better and stronger”. We made a commitment to rebuild and we are honouring that commitment. From the fire has come a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a brand new flagship facility that will service our global operations for many decades to come. Our new Murray Bridge facility will be a showcase of advanced food manufacturing, delivering the highest standards in beef and lamb processing.
We see this facility as setting the industry benchmark for technology, efficiency, environmental sustainability, animal welfare and workplace safety. Realising this vision is not possible without the support we’ve received since Day One from our staff, customers, suppliers, all levels of government and the broader Murray Bridge community. For all this, we are truly grateful.
This dedicated Murray Bridge plant website contains key information about our new facility and will include regular updates as the development takes shape.
I hope you find it a useful and inspiring read.
Managing Director Thomas Foods International
The new Murray Bridge processing facility will be completed in late 2022, however we have created a Digital Twin of the site to showcase many of the class leading features that have been incorporated into its design. Watch the video above to take a tour and hear from our Managing Director, Darren Thomas.
Thomas Foods International (TFI), Australia’s largest 100% family owned meat processing company, is building a new state-of-the-art meat processing facility at Murray Bridge in South Australia.
It replaces the original facility destroyed by fire on January 3, 2018.
The new multi-species meat processing facility at Murray Bridge is expected to become a global showcase of advanced food manufacturing and set the industry benchmark for technology, efficiency, environmental sustainability, animal welfare and workplace safety.
The plant is being built at a greenfield site approximately 10km outside of the Murray Bridge town centre.
The new facility is located approximately 8km from the site of the former plant along the Mannum Road and is close to the company’s existing wastewater treatment ponds.
A new 2.2km public link road between Mannum Road and the development site has been built under a Federal and State Government-funded infrastructure program for easy and safe access.
The new Murray Bridge facility and its capacity will be built in a staged approach.
TFI has appointed South Australia’s largest private commercial contractor and one of Australia’s largest privately-owned builders, BADGE, to undertake the design and construction of Stage One of this highly anticipated project.
This stage will include:
• Beef processing facilities with an initial capacity of up to 600 head per day
• Animal handling facilities designed to the highest animal welfare standards
• Beef boning room with automated packaging technology
• Employee amenities and administration facilities
• Fully automated carton chilling, freezing and storage systems
• Electrical, refrigeration and boiler systems to the highest energy efficiency standards
Work on Stage One is now underway with construction and commissioning expected to be completed over a 24 month period.
Subsequent stages of the development will include further expansion of the beef facilities and additional smallstock (sheep and lambs) processing capacity.
The plant, once fully completed, is expected to have total processing capacity of 1,200 head of beef and 15,000 head of smallstock per day.
The exact timing of the subsequent stages of the development is yet to be determined.
As a major regional employer, Thomas Foods International understands the importance of job creation for local communities.
The new Murray Bridge processing facility will provide a range of employment opportunities in what is a growth-oriented industry. The positions to be created will be broad and range from entry level to more specialised and senior process positions.
Approximately 350 jobs are expected to be created during Stage One.
Once fully completed, the project is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs in total.
Thomas Foods International has assembled a dedicated and experienced project team to manage the development process.
Led by Managing Director Darren Thomas, Group Engineering Manager Nekta Nicolaou and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Stewart, the TFI team is working closely with principal contractor BADGE to build this state-of-the-art facility.
Review our project timeline, spanning from January 2018 through to December 2020.Project Timeline
Frequently Asked Questions
The new Murray Bridge facility is being built in stages. Stage One – which includes beef processing, animal handling facilities, beef boning room, stockyards, employee amenities and administration facilities – is expected to be commissioned in late 2022. The exact timing of subsequent stages of the development is yet to be determined.
TFI is currently delivering Stage One of the project, giving TFI the capacity to process 600 beef cattle per day.
The project master plan provides the potential opportunity for us to expand our production by an additional 600 cattle and/or 15,000 small stock through any future expansions to Stage One.
When fire destroyed the original plant on the edge of the Murray Bridge town, we were faced with the opportunity to build a new processing plant in the location of our choice. This could have been on the same site or even in another town or state. Murray Bridge is a ‘home’ to our company, and it was important for us to reaffirm our commitment to the area by providing jobs and other indirect economic benefits to the community of Murray Bridge. The new site was chosen to still be a part of the Murray Bridge community but further from town to ensure we could provide sufficient buffer to the township and minimise the impacts our development had on the local community during the construction and operating phases
Best to bookmark this website as it contains key information about the plant and will include regular updates as the development takes shape.
Careers and employment
It is expected that Stage One of the development will provide new employment opportunities for up to 350 employees. These positions will include a broad range of functions from entry level process workers through to supervisory and manager roles, as well as administrative, technical and clerical roles that will support the day to day operation of the site.
TFI has already begun recruiting for some senior and supervisory roles from internal and external candidate pools. Recruitment for all positions within the facility will be an ongoing process and openings will be advertised through our normal recruitment channels as well as on this page.
TFI will advertise all new opportunities nationally both internally and externally via numerous avenues, including on this page.
Future employees who will need to relocate to work at the processing facility will be free to choose their own housing whether that be local or in the surrounding areas.
Organic waste will be transported offsite via EPA approved waste transportation providers and disposed of in an EPA accredited facility or recycled.
Biodegradable waste will be transported offsite to an EPA accredited compost and/or recycling facility.
Domestic wastewater management will be controlled and managed by SA Water. TFI will comply with all SA Water / EPA requirements.
The facility will be an industry leader in water efficiency. Primary treatment of wastewater generated in the facility will occur in the covered on-site ponds. Biogas will be captured and used for energy generation. Secondary refinement will take place in the adjacent facility before being used for irrigation which will be used to grow feed for livestock. The wastewater treatment will continue to require an EPA licence and will be monitored by the EPA for compliance.
TFI will utilise only suitably accredited external/3rd party contractors to remove waste from the site who have a proven track record of meeting the highest standards of environmental stewardship.
The EPA’s Evaluation Distances for Effective Air Quality and Noise Management document indicates that the facility should be located at least 1 kilometre away from dwellings. The TFI facility (excluding existing lagoons) is in the order of 1.5 kilometres from the nearest non-TFI dwelling. As part of the development application, odour modelling was commissioned and reviewed in accordance with the EPA’s Ambient Air Quality Ass
The site will be constantly regulated by the EPA for compliance against strict protocols with respect to odour, noise and light. Prior to becoming operational, the site will need to be licenced by the EPA through setting out management practices that ensure adherence to the EPAs requirements.
Landscaping around the facility will create a physical barrier to noise and light pollution while also ensuring the natural vista of the area is not negatively affected. Site vehicles will utilise low frequency reverse beepers in order to minimise the likelihood of them causing unnecessary distractions beyond those in the immediate vicinity.
We have incorporated state of the art fire mitigation provisions and used building materials that minimise the risk and severity of a fire event.
The facility will comply with fire requirements under the National Construction Code (NCC). Fire protection systems are anticipated to include:
- Internal fire sprinkler system to all main processing areas
- Occupancy warning system
- External fire hydrants on a ring main
- Twin fire water tanks and fire pumps
- Factory Mutual Approved insulation panel systems.
Animal welfare is a priority. The facility has been designed in accordance with world renowned specialist Temple Grandin’s principals. The new plant incorporates efficient stock delivery and unloading facilities as well as covered and ventilated holding yards. Thomas Foods International adheres to the strictest animal welfare standards in processing.
The main access road to the facility will be via Temora Way which is a new State road that has been built to comply with the State Department of Infrastructure and Transport standards. Temora Way is accessed via the State-owned Mannum Road which has a dual lane intersection to ensure passing traffic is minimally effected, if at all, by traffic entering or exiting the site. This intersection has been designed to comfortably handle traffic movements during peak flow periods such as future shift changes.
The site itself has been designed to facilitate the safe and efficient flow of vehicular traffic around the facility and back onto public roads.
TFI appreciates biosecurity laws and processes, and we understand the role they play in protecting the value of Australian agriculture. As an export accredited facility, during all animal processing a Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) representative will be onsite, and in conjunction with them and the State Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) TFI will comply with all exotic disease guidelines.
Additionally, under the National biosecurity guidelines, the site will be considered a quarantine facility, strictly limiting the movement of any livestock off the premises.
Finally, there is an onsite truck wash for exiting vehicles to be able to clean down subsequent to the unloading of livestock. All water will be captured and enter the wastewater treatment process.
Located at our brand NEW Murray Bridge facility, the Purchasing Manager will work closely with the Plant Manager and Maintenance Department. This role is responsible for organising and coordinating the delivery of packaging and consumables for use within the plant and maintenance areas. Learn more or apply here.
ocated at our brand NEW Murray Bridge facility and reporting directly to the Senior Supervisor, the Beef Slaughter Floor Grader is responsible for the grading of beef carcasses. The grading data must be accurate to ensure producers receive correct feedback for the animals they present for production. Learn more or apply here.
We are currently seeking a Compost Operator to join our team based in Murray Bridge, SA. We promote a positive working culture within the business and value honesty, reliability & integrity. Learn more or apply here.
Located at our brand NEW Murray Bridge facility and reporting directly to the Senior Supervisor, the Beef Offal Supervisor & Quality Assurance will manage the Offal department to ensure it is compliant with DAFF, QA and OH&S. This role will be responsible for the supervision of employees and to ensure that processes are followed to achieve production targets and customer specifications. Learn more or apply here.
Contact us about the Murray Bridge Rebuild
The new Murray Bridge processing facility will provide a range of employment opportunities in what is a growth-oriented industry.
The positions to be created will be broad and range from entry level to more specialised and senior process positions.
This is an exciting opportunity to join a successful and industry leading company and build your career in the global food industry.