Moora, Northam in yards bid

31 Oct, 2001 10:00 PM
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THE battle over the relocation of the Midland Saleyards has been re-ignited once again as Moora and Northam shires have stepped up campaigns to win rights to host the facility.

Rejecting the Meat Industry Authority's recommendation that a single, multi-species facility at Muchea would be the best option, both groups have now planned to bypass MIA and approach Agriculture Minister Kim Chance directly.

Refuting the fairness of MIA's feasibility study into the plant being either located at Northam or Muchea, or split between the towns, Moora shire president Michael Bates said the benefits of other alternatives were being overlooked.

He said the MIA appeared to be rejecting the Moora bid simply because it had come at such a late stage in the decision making process.

MIA CEO Michael Donnelly said it would unnecessarily open a "can of worms" if they conducted a feasibility study into the Moora plant, with other groups, who had shown interest, expecting the same.

He said the MIA believed sufficient options had been considered.

Cost savings, allocation of roads funding, regional development and indirect benefits to other plants in the south were some of the benefits of building the yards in Moora, according to Mr Bates, who will be outlining these in a detailed submission to Mr Chance before the November 15 closing date.

Meanwhile, a vocal Northam group, known as the Sheep Saleyard Relocation Partnership, has employed a consultant to review the MIA's feasibility study, which it believes is inaccurate.

Made up of members from the shire and town of Northam, the Goomalling shire, Avon Community Development Foundation, and producers from both the PGA and WAFarmers, the group is pushing for a split facility, with the sheep component to be placed at Northam.

The group has based its case on increasing sheep production in the central and eastern Wheatbelt areas, the strategic positioning of the facility near transport routes and number of sites available with zero risk of urban encroachment.

Both groups have scheduled meetings with major farming bodies to gather support.

However, despite these efforts, PGA and WAFarmers have remained fixed, with both groups saying they plan to back MIA's recommendation to build the new facility at Muchea.

WAFarmers meat section president Barry Bell said after meeting with the Moora Shire to discuss its proposal it was agreed a single species facility at Muchea was still the best option.

Conceding some members preferred a split facility, Mr Bell said the decision clearly had to suit the majority.

Echoing this position PGA policy director Damien Capp said there was "simply no support" for the other proposals from its members.

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