THE saleyard fiasco in WA is in its third year of turmoil and WA growers and lobby groups are angere

30 Nov, 2006 07:00 PM
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Tempers have reached the point where WAFar-mers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) are requesting a joint meeting with Agriculture Minister Kim Chance and Treasurer Eric Ripper.

WAFarmers Livestock Council president Mike Norton and PGA Livestock Committee policy director Hugh Harding told Farm Weekly they hoped a meeting would take place within the next two weeks.

Both organisations have lobbied the State Government for more than a year to get an adequate response to the Muchea saleyards situation.

But it seems the lobbying has largely been unsuccessful.

Even correspondence from the PGA to Mr Ripper was handballed to Mr Chance¹s office earlier this month.

Mr Chance has continuously maintained that the Muchea saleyards would go ahead, but the PGA and WAFarmers are beginning to question this.

Mr Chance claims the State Government remains committed to the development of the Muchea saleyards, and promised a decision on stage two of the Muchea project was expected shortly.

Mr Harding and Mr Norton said the Midland saleyards had become totally inadequate for livestock selling and movement and an alternative was desperately needed.

³Each time this is delayed, it costs money,² Mr Harding said.

³It¹s just ridiculous how many years this has gone on for.²

Mr Norton and Mr Harding blamed the State Government for stifling Mr Chance¹s efforts to move forward on the issue.

Mr Norton said any progress relied heavily on Cabinet¹s response to Mr Chance¹s proposals for the Muchea saleyards.

³The problems lie with the Treasury and the heavyweights in Cabinet who have got the knife stuck in the agriculture agenda,² Mr Norton said.

³This thing got signed-off back in the Burke Government era for about $6 million.

³It¹s incredible how long politicians can procrastinate over an issue.

³This should have been done well over 12 months ago.

³The WorkSafe issues at Midland are enormous and the place could probably be shut down overnight.²

PGA president Sandy McTaggart said he was bitterly disappointed with the State Government¹s inactivity.

³We should be moving into the saleyards now, not starting them,² he said.

³We were promised these saleyards at the end of the year and I can¹t understand what the bureaucratic hold-up is.

³We have a city-centric government.²

Meanwhile, the Katanning saleyards ‹ the major selling centre for the Great Southern ‹ also are under redevelop-ment due to their dilapidated state.

In the past three years, the Northam Shire has emerged as the only form of a government body trying proactively to deal with WA¹s saleyards problem.

The shire has doggedly fought to have livestock saleyards built in Northam, despite criticism from all directions.

The site for the Northam saleyards has been cleared, but construction has not started.

The cost of building the Muchea saleyards is expected to exceed $20m.

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