Support for NSW agents
A LETTER written by Jan Fadelli of the Richmond River Beef Producers Association regarding the pay dispute between livestock agents and the council in Casino, northern New South Wales.
“The Richmond River Beef Producers Association wholeheartedly offers its support to the livestock auctioneers of Casino during their dispute with the Richmond Valley Council.
We believe the Casino Livestock Exchange offers a necessary service to a very viable cattle industry in this region.
It also contributes to the community economy and provides employment for many citizens in the local area.
The current situation of the cancellation of sales at this facility will cause not only enormous financial stress for the vendors but will also have a flow-on affect to all the carriers and staff employed at the yards as well as the businesses in town that rely on community support to keep their enterprises viable.
Congratulations do go to RVC for being able to secure funding from both the State and Federal Governments for the upgrade and rebuild of the saleyards. As producers, we look forward to its completion in 2018.
Richmond River Council took out a loan knowing full well what income was available to service that loan.
They accepted the conditions of the loan without relying on ratepayer funds.
It is not right that RVC now feels they are unable to meet their repayments.
Apart from the agents paying a usage fee of $1 per head – which varies from agent to agent depending on cattle numbers sold, and which could amount to more than $119,000 this year – the agents’ permits have risen by 5% to $10,500.
The vendor fees have also risen to $10.50 up by 6% from 2016 and the newly imposed capital works levy has increased by 81% to $2, bringing the total cost to vendors to $12.50.
This levy is the same amount for a young calf as it is for grown cattle and yet the return from a vealer (calf) may be approximately $600, compared to a grown bullock worth up to $1800 on today’s market. At Casino Saleyards the majority of animals traded are young vealers, compared to most other saleyards which mainly trade in adult cattle.
This vendor fee of $12.50 is a lot more than any other saleyard in this region requires of its vendors.
For example, Hayes and Co runs a privately owned saleyard in south-east Queensland and only charges $6.05 and Lismore Saleyards charge $7.60 yard fees.
The council has stated that it believes agents are in a position to contribute the additional $1 per head. But why should they need to pay more when the agents and vendors do not have the opportunity to use the whole of the facility? It is like a prospective landlord asking a prospective renter to pay rent for a unit that is in the process of being built.
The agents collect the capital works and vendor levy for RVC at no cost to the council. This amount is projected to be $1.3m in 2017. It is unfair then that the agents should pay an extra $1 per head for use of the yards that are not completed and where the agents need to employ additional staff to ensure the smooth running of the sale with no increase in stress to either the livestock or vendors.
Therefore the members of this association wholeheartedly support the agents’ stance and hope RVC will resolve the situation by coming to a compromise and allow the saleyards to recommence operations.”
IMPORTANT ASSET: The Richmond River Beef Producers Association offers its support to livestock agents during a pay dispute with the Richmond Valley Council in Casino.