Watch on Midland money

25 Jan, 2005 10:00 PM
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THE Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) is keeping a careful watch over the sale of the Midland saleyards to ensure profits remain invested in the Muchea development.

PGA policy director Hugh Harding said the PGA would be meeting with the WA Agriculture Department soon to make sure all the funds raised from the Midland sale were invested at Muchea and extra money was allocated to the upgrading of other regional saleyards.

WA Agriculture Minister Kim Chance's spokesman said no part of the 68ha of Midland saleyards had been sold, but about 16ha of the Hazelmere block were likely to be sold to Western Power.

He did not agree there would be extra money from the sale of the Midland saleyards and said an estimated total of $16 million would be invested at Muchea.

If extra funds were available after the construction of the Muchea saleyards, it was expected the Agriculture Department would consider spending the money on other regional saleyards.

Planning for the saleyard relocation is well underway.

WA Meat Industry Authority (WAMIA) chief executive officer Mike Donnelly said planning approval and sub-division issues surrounding the proposed Muchea site were running in a parallel process, which he was confident would be granted approval.

Mr Donnelly said WAMIA was exercising the option to sub-divide the 350ha land for the proposed livestock centre on Muchea East Road, near Brand Highway and Great Northern Highway. Previously owned by Midland Brick, the land would be sub-divided to allow clay mining to continue in part of the area. Sub-division issues were being examined by the Chittering shire's planning commission and could take three months to be processed.

"While planning is being approved, we are carrying out land assessments and environmental assessments with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for approval," Mr Donnelly said.

"At the moment, all assessments have pointed to there being no issues.

"Road access negotiation is taking place with a number of parties."

Mr Donnelly said it was important for planned road access to provide a safe passage for transport vehicles, as well as suit the long-term plans for the proposed Perth to Darwin highway.

"At the moment, it is all ticking along, with civil works getting locked in place and a lot of preparatory works also being carried out," he said.

The designing stage for the saleyards is also underway, with a lot of finetuning taking place to ensure modern requirements are met, especially in regards to NLIS technology.

"We have learnt a lot from implementing NLIS at the Midland saleyards and this will affect the way we design the Muchea saleyards.

"Our land sales program has been very successful at Midland, meeting and in some cases exceeding our expectations."

Mr Donnelly said WAMIA was still working towards the finish date of September 2006 for the Muchea saleyards, which would be achieved if hidden issues did not arise.

Although the Northam Saleyard Relocation Committee's bid to have the Midland saleyards relocated to the town was unsuccessful, it would update its sheep yards and was approaching other shire councils for project funding.

Committee chairman Bert Llewellyn said the committee was working with the Environmental Protection Authority to plan the development and was making sure there would be adequate vehicle access for trucks to load and unload stock.

He said there was a possibility of a trip to the eastern states this year to examine other yard designs and help the design process of the Northam sheep yards.

Only sheep yards would be constructed but cattle yards could be added at a later date.

"We are just coming out of a holding period over Christmas but we have the design in mind and the materials we would like to use," Mr Llewellyn said.

"Everything is all still go. We have had more positive discussions with farmers throughout the region.

"We have a work document in place and at the moment we are up to date.

"At this stage we are looking at starting building at the end of the year."

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