Call for rethink on yards

Brendan Abbey, spokesman for the consortium that wants to build a private regional saleyards at Mortlake.
Nanjing Night Net

WARRNAMBOOL City Council (WCC) might need to rethink its forthcominginvestment in the Warrnambool saleyards, the proponent for a private regional saleyards at Mortlake says.

Brendan Abbey said he expected his private regional saleyards would attract between 30-40 per cent of the cattle throughput currently handled by the Warrnambool saleyards.

His comments follow WCC’s announcement last week that it was giving its long-term support to the Warrnambool saleyards at theirCaramut Road location.

The council’sdeclaration of long-term support for the Warrnambool saleyards follows two previous moves by the council to divest itself of the facility, the most recent in 2014.

The council’sefforts to divest itself of the saleyardswere abandoned following community opposition, including that from the Warrnambool Stock Agents Association.

Theassociation’s president Anthony Mahony said funding had been secured to install roofing over the Warrnambool saleyards’dirt yards.

He said an above ground watering system and a new compressor for the scales had also been recently installed at the saleyards.

Corangamite Shire Council this month also declared its support for its Camperdown saleyards, announcing it would invest this financial year in two capital projects at the saleyards worth about $10,000.

Corangamite shire had also previously explored the possibility of divesting itself of the Camperdown saleyards in favour of a private regional facility in the shire but no progress appears to have been made on that issue.

Mr Abbey said WCC’s declaration of support for the Warrnambool saleyards would not alter his consortium’s plans to build a $15 million regional saleyards at Mortlake.

“It’s still full steam ahead,” he said.

Mr Abbey said his consortium had gained support from stock agents in Hamilton, Camperdown, Colac, Geelong and Ballarat whosaid they would send livestock to its regional facility at Mortlake.

All of the saleyards in the south-west are operated by local government but Mr Abbey said his consortiumhad not asked any south-west councils to support the venture.

He said theconsortium aimed to have itsregional saleyards built by the end of next year and put through between 150,000-200,000 cattle a year.

Mr Abbey said it hadbought a 69 hectare (170 acres)siteat the corner of the Hamilton Highway and Connewarren Lane in Mortlake for the facility and was negotiating on another 36ha (90 acres) on which to build a quarantine facility for cattle for live exports.

The plan for the quarantine facility was for it to handlethe cattle sold at the regional saleyards for live export markets, he said.

Mr Abbey’s consortium, which comprises five Yass farming families and a solicitor, will next month open its $15 million regional South Eastern Livestock Exchange at Yass that will sell both sheep and cattle.

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