Northam seeks support on Yards

28 Oct, 2005 08:45 PM

THE Northam Saleyards are moving ahead and organisers are looking for producer support.

Northam Shire councillor Richard Marris has been to WA saleyards to show producers plans for the proposed sheepyards in an attempt to gauge producer support.

Mr Marris said many producers were in favor of the new Northam sheepyards and thought the location was much better suited to their business than the proposed Muchea saleyards.

He said he was frustrated the Muchea yards were still going ahead despite many people saying Northam was the better location for sheepyards.

He said sheep sold at Muchea would only be used to supplement the running of the cattle yards.

"We have been fighting the government to get the Northam yards up and running," Mr Marris said.

"Four weeks ago we went to the eastern states to compare our proposed yard design with what is in use over there, we have made some adjustments to our plans and now have been able to draw up a schedule of where we want to go.

"The next stage will be the signing of the financial agreement with six local governments.

"Earthworks have already begun with $100,000 already being spent.

"The government has stated emphatically they are going to go ahead with Muchea, but our figures show that 70-80pc of sheep will go to Northam.

"We don't mind some loss through the operation of the new Northam saleyards as it will be a community asset and bring business into the area."

Mr Marris said agents wanted one regional selling complex for the convenience of buyers and felt buyers would not come to Northam if Muchea was available.

"We can't afford to open these yards if buyers aren't there, we feel buyers will come, however there is $4 million at stake," he said.

"We will keep producers informed and momentum going.

"We intend to send circulars to all producers in the area asking for their support."

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the State Government was not opposed to the construction of the Northam saleyards but Muchea would go ahead.

Mr Chance said both Northam and Moora Shires had been talked through the process for selecting a site for the replacement Midland Yards and Muchea had been decided by all members of the livestock industry as the best option.

"Muchea received overwhelming support by all members of the industry including transporters and livestock agents," he said.

"As a consequence of this process the proposal of building another yard is no longer relevant, already progress was delayed on the building of the complex by 18 months due to arguments over where the yards would be located.

"I am not in opposition to the proposed Northam sheepyards but it will have an effect on Muchea and will undoubtedly take some sheep away from the Muchea complex."

Mr Chance said the economics of Muchea were based on cattle and research had indicated the Eastern Wheatbelt would not be a big contributor of sheep.

He said the proposed Katanning saleyards would be worse affected if the Northam saleyards went ahead.

Mr Chance said the Muchea saleyards would reduce their sheep facilities if the Northam sheep yards went ahead.

He said he could understand, as a former Eastern Wheatbelt sheep producer, why the Northam facility would be favored, however on a state-wide basis this argument was held by a smaller majority.

"The majority favors the Muchea complex, I am not against the Northam saleyards, it just doesn't make sense," Mr Chance said.



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