Coronavirus crisis: ‘Essential’ saleyards to remain open under strict measures

Zach RelphThe West Australian
Westcoast Wool and Livestock auctioneer Chris Hartley at the Katanning Regional Saleyards.
Camera IconWestcoast Wool and Livestock auctioneer Chris Hartley at the Katanning Regional Saleyards. Credit: Zach Relph/Countryman

Livestock auctions at WA saleyards will continue under strict measures to keep meat on Australian plates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud confirmed today national cattle and sheep auctions — and wool sales — would not be halted, despite the mounting coronavirus threat.

Mr Littleproud said livestock saleyards remained “an essential part of the broader agriculture supply chain”.

“The Government is working tirelessly to safeguard the supply chain from the farm to the market,” he said.

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“In particular, interruptions to livestock saleyards could impact adversely on the availability and price of meat.

“Like the rest of Australia, livestock saleyards and wool auctions will need to comply with strict social distancing and hygiene practices.”

Only one person will be permitted per four square metres at indoor auctions, under the Federal Government restrictions.

Muchea Livestock Centre, Katanning Regional Saleyards, Mt Barker Regional Saleyards and Boyanup saleyards have been operating with only essential personal.

Meat and Livestock Australia market officers will be absent from weekly saleyard auctions as part of a raft of operational changes to protect workers from the coronavirus crisis.

The nation’s peak livestock body announced this week its livestock market officers — who collect livestock data across Australia’s saleyards — have started working from home.

However, the officers will complete auction reports remotely.

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