No plans yet for new South West saleyards

No plans yet for new South West saleyards

News
The Boyanup Saleyards sees about 65,000 head of cattle pass through each year. It is leased by the WA Livestock Salesman's Association from the Shire of Capel until 2022. The site is Crown land gifted to the Shire for the purposes of a saleyard. The State government is under pressure to upgrade the facility in line with the latest animal welfare standards and is months away from making a decision on how much it will spend to keep the yards open at the current location.

The Boyanup Saleyards sees about 65,000 head of cattle pass through each year. It is leased by the WA Livestock Salesman's Association from the Shire of Capel until 2022. The site is Crown land gifted to the Shire for the purposes of a saleyard. The State government is under pressure to upgrade the facility in line with the latest animal welfare standards and is months away from making a decision on how much it will spend to keep the yards open at the current location.

Aa

The South West cattle industry is not surprised to hear that the State government hasn't progressed plans to build a new facility to replace the ageing Boyanup Saleyards.

Aa

THE South West cattle industry is not surprised to hear that the State government hasn't progressed plans to build a new facility to replace the ageing Boyanup Saleyards.

In April Premier Mark McGowan said in parliament that it was "endeavouring to support the Shire of Capel's decision late last year to allow continuation of the saleyard facilities at Boyanup".

"The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is determining the extent and the cost of upgrades required to bring the facility to a modern standard that will meet producers' needs and animal welfare and environmental requirements," Mr McGowan said at the time.

"We are continuing negotiations with the Shire of Capel and WA Livestock Salesmen's Association (WALSA) about the future operating model.

"We expect to finalise these arrangements in coming months."

The Nationals WA have been questioning the government on the issue after making an election promise to fund a modern, purpose-built facility in the region for the future of the industry.

They have accused the government of "dragging its heels" on the issue after it was revealed no progress had been made on the project since the 2017 State election.

In parliament last week, South West Region MLC Colin Holt asked Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan for an update.

"Given that the last update on the Boyanup Saleyards from the government was in December 2018, and a contract was supposed to be announced by the end of 2019, industry is also becoming frustrated at the government's inability to get the job done," Mr Holt said.

"In WA Labor's 2017 election campaign, they promised to 'fast-track' a livestock precinct in the South West to replace the ageing Boyanup Saleyards.

"Three years on the agricultural community is still waiting.

"No new site has been identified, no contracts have been issued and no work has been done.

"The ageing facility is about to reach the end of its lifespan and rather than honour their election promise, the minister told parliament they were now only considering the bare minimum to bring the facility up to standard."

Mr de Grussa, who is The Nationals WA spokesman, said the Boyanup Saleyards were one of WA's most significant agriculture facilities, which on average processes 65,000 head of cattle a year, however last year 90,000 head passed through the facility.

"The Nationals WA have toured the ageing saleyards and met with stakeholders to view alternative sites for a new facility in the South West," Mr de Grussa said.

"It's important that a modern, fit-for-purpose saleyard is developed in the South West, and we call on the government to make clear their plans for the facility's future well ahead of the 2021 State election to give industry some certainty."

When responding to questions, Ms MacTiernan said she was "very frustrated that this thing is taking so long to come to a conclusion".

"There is not a big pot of money available, like some people think there is, to fund anything, but we are trying to bring this matter to a conclusion," Ms MacTiernan said.

"We have the Shire of Capel's decision last year, which agreed to allow the saleyard to continue.

"We have been getting clarity, and we have engaged a consultant to do costings on the minimum upgrades to that facility to bring it up to a reasonable standard, particularly to meet modern animal welfare and environmental requirements.

"That work is underway now and, hopefully, will not take too much longer.

"We also have been attempting to negotiate with WALSA on a future operating model.

"It has not always been easy to contact, but we are working on that.

"We expect that if government money needs to be put in, there should be a more open arrangement for access to that facility than there is currently."

DPIRD said it was "facilitating a preliminary cost analysis of upgrades to saleyard facilities at Boyanup to support modern animal welfare, safety and environmental outcomes".

This work is close to finalisation.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by