Saleyards delay under fire

28 Mar, 2002 07:00 PM
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WAFarmers meat section president Mike Norton said he had major concerns about the Government's delay in making a decision over the preferred Midland saleyard relocation site.

He said despite a number of attempts in the past to relocate the Midland saleyards the time had clearly arrived to make the move.

WAFarmers supported the Muchea proposal also supported by most other industry groups.

Mr Norton said while submissions were supposed to have closed he understood Moora had returned with further submissions to Government while proponents for Northam were also putting in more work on a cattle and sheep site proposal.

Mr Norton said the decision, expected before Christmas, was continually being put back.

"The Minister seems to have shifted the goal posts after he has closed the game," he said. "I am just getting concerned about where Government is going."

He also understood the Department of Agriculture favoured Moora because of a belief the future beef production would be focused around the Badgingarra area.

"All the abattoirs are in the south so cattle are still going to have to go south," he said.

Mr Norton said producers' interests appeared to be second to other groups pushing their own perspectives.

Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said he had received a report from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure but was waiting on an independent report he sought from the Department of Agriculture.

He had received some key points from the yet to be submitted report, which indicated the Department was looking at the issue from a long-term whole of industry of industry point of view.

Mr Chance said some of these issues included funding, the future role of the Meat Industry Authority and the need for State Government ownership and management of saleyards.

"In assessing a replacement saleyard for Midland, the impact on and capacity of other major saleyards in the south of WA also needs to be considered," he said, at the recent WAFarmers conference.

Mr Chance said the Northam and Moora relocation site proponents had volunteered further material since the close of submissions but this information hadn't compromised the integrity of the original process.

"Really, the fundamental change is that the Department of Agriculture is saying that if we are gong to conduct an independent analysis the let's see what it means for the whole of industry," he said.

Mr Chance said he would need to talk to industry again on its preferred option of Muchea if the Department proposal was radically different.

"What I am trying to do is establish a way to get the right solution," he said.

"It's an important decision to get right."

He expected a decision to be made before the end of May.

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