Sa­le­yard re­lo­ca­tion ob­sta­cle re­moved

Countryman - - NEWS - Rueben Hale

Quar­ters of the WA live­stock in­dus­try have wel­comed cer­tainty over plans to re­place the Boy­anup sa­le­yards.

Some in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives who at­tended a re­cent round­table meet­ing to dis­cuss ideas for re­plac­ing the fa­cil­ity last week ac­cused Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan of show­ing a “lack of in­ter­est” in dis­cussing their ideas.

The age­ing fa­cil­ity has been a burn­ing is­sue for the South West for many years. Ahead of last year’s elec­tion, the McGowan Gov­ern­ment promised to work with the Shire of Capel to find a suit­able lo­ca­tion for a live­stock precinct to re­place the cur­rent Boy­anup sa­le­yards.

Ms MacTier­nan is in favour of the pri­vate sec­tor build­ing and op­er­at­ing the new sa­le­yard and there are grow­ing sug­ges­tions within the in­dus­try that a pack­age in­volv­ing the Muchea Live­stock Cen­tre may be in­cluded to at­tract po­ten­tial in­vestors.

Dur­ing the tense dis­cus­sions at the round­table event, Ms MacTier­nan would not com­mit to a project time­line.

She also ruled out Ke­mer­ton In­dus­trial Park, near Bun­bury, as a pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion, say­ing plans were al­ready in place to use the land for a lithium plant.

John Mitchell, owner of Wa­roona-based live­stock trans­port com­pany Mitchell Trans­port, said with Ke­mer­ton no longer an op­tion, a ma­jor ob­sta­cle had been re­moved.

“When there was a de­bate about the re­lo­ca­tion of the Mid­land sa­le­yards, the is­sue dragged on for many years, so to have that point dealt with is a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward in my opin­ion,” he said. “It is also good news that the Gov­ern­ment in­tends to take its time and look at the best model go­ing for­ward, rather than rush­ing in and mak­ing hasty de­ci­sions, which may not turn out to be in the longterm best in­ter­ests for users.”

Har­vey Beef live­stock man­ager Kim McDougall said he sup­ported a well-con­sid­ered sa­le­yard ap­proach, which would be a sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit to store cat­tle mar­ket sell­ers and buy­ers.

“Boy­anup sa­le­yards is not as busi­ness crit­i­cal for pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tions as it once was be­cause we have to plan well for­ward to achieve con­sis­tent sup­ply of cat­tle each week,” he said.

“But there is a def­i­nite need for a busi­ness model and fa­cil­ity de­sign to as­sist the smaller to medium op­er­a­tors.”

Ms MacTier­nan said users of a new fa­cil­ity could ex­pect to be charged higher fees.

“We will look at mech­a­nisms used else­where to en­sure fees re­main ac­cept­able,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, sa­le­yards need to keep cus­tomers happy. Ex­pe­ri­ence in the Eastern States is that while modern fa­cil­i­ties charge more, the an­i­mals at­tract bet­ter prices be­cause they do not lose con­di­tion in the yards.”

Pic­ture: Danella Be­vis

Boy­anup sa­le­yards.

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