Barnett backs new saleyard plan

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Sheep sale at the Muchea Livestock Centre saleyards.
Camera IconSheep sale at the Muchea Livestock Centre saleyards. Credit: The West Australian

Colin Barnett has thrown his support behind plans to build new saleyards capable of handling more than 70,000 cattle a year on a former mine site in the South West.

The Premier said funds held in reserve from the Government’s sale of Mildland saleyards could be used to pay for new facilities near Boyanup, in the Shire of Capel. It is estimated the undercover saleyards will cost up to $20 million to build.

Mr Barnett recently inspected the existing facilities in Boyanup and the preferred site at Gwindinup, previously used by mineral sands miner Cristal.

The Government has delivered on three-quarters of the regional saleyards strategy it took to the 2008 election by building new facilities at Muchea for $54 million, at Katanning for $26 million and carrying out a multimillion-dollar upgrade at Mt Barker.

The Shire of Capel has pushed for the removal of the existing saleyards from the Boyanup townsite for more than decade and has advised the Government it will not renew the lease over the site. Mr Barnett said new facilities at Boyanup were the “missing link” in terms of the Government’s commitments.

“It (Gwindinup) is a suitable site and could be redeveloped and some funding for that could come from the assets still held from the sale of the Midland saleyards,” he said.

“One of the prime roles of government is to either fund, do or somehow facilitate significant pieces of infrastructure that industry by itself will not probably do.

“Building saleyards and airport expansion are exactly the sort of role that the State Government should play.

“Farmers and farm-based industry can then get on with the job.”

The State Government has put $55.9 million into the expansion of Busselton-Margaret River Airport to handle interstate flights.

Mr Barnett’s Liberal Party colleagues in Canberra are now under pressure to honour an election promise to provide $9.75 million to take the airport to international capability.

“A modern saleyards and maybe processed meat exported directly out of the South West into the markets of Asia would be a huge boost for the economy,” Mr Barnett said.

Agriculture Minister Dean Nalder will visit the site with Vasse MLA Libby Mettam next month.

Ms Mettam said the 300ha site at Gwindinup had the potential to become an agriculture hub supporting a number of businesses.

The existing saleyards are operated by the WA Livestock Salesmens’ Association, a partnership between Elders and Landmark.

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