Sup­port for NSW agents

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News -

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.”

PHOTO: FILE

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.

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