‘Business as usual’ at WA livestock saleyards despite COVID restrictions

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenCountryman
It’s business as usual at Katanning Regional Saleyards.
Camera IconIt’s business as usual at Katanning Regional Saleyards. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman

New COVID protocols have not been imposed at WA’s four major livestock saleyards after the State Government last week handed down its latest round of restrictions.

Buyers, sellers and the general public will be able to freely access the facilities at Katanning, Boyanup, Mt Barker and Muchea.

WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association chairman Dean Hubbard said it was “business as usual” at Boyanup Saleyards — which is managed by WALSA — though he did not expect things to remain that way.

“At the moment access hasn’t been limited, but I would suggest strongly that it probably will be ... it might just take a little longer for any changes to be tabled (by the State Government),” he said.

“As far as we know it’s business as usual, albeit in the buyers’ lanes, where there are crowds, we are wearing masks, and obviously scanning in (on the SafeWA app). But there’s no restrictions on people’s attendance or anything.”

In March 2020, vendors were banned from attending livestock sales for about three months as part of restrictions recommended in the COVID-19 National Saleyards Protocols.

Livestock sales continued after the Federal Government deemed agriculture an essential service, but the number of people allowed to attend sales was limited.

WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association chairman Dean Hubbard.
Camera IconWA Livestock Salesmen’s Association chairman Dean Hubbard. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman

Mr Hubbard said he had been speaking with saleyards in the Eastern States to gauge what measures might work should harsh restrictions be imposed again.

“It’s not being alarmed, it’s just being organised,” he said.

“Whatever the guidelines are, we’ll certainly need to adhere to them.”

Katanning Regional Saleyards manager Rod Bushell said little had changed since Omicron hit international headlines.

“We’ve been through the process already where nearly all the staff, to my knowledge, and the stock firms have all been vaccinated, and it’s mandated now that all the transporters have got to be vaccinated to come in,” he said.

“At the moment the public are free to come to the saleyards.”

Mr Bushell admitted it was hard to maintain social distancing in a saleyard setting but said management was doing what it could.

“We keep the public away from the buyers,” he said.

“There’s a three-metre lane and the buyers are at the front and the public at the back.”

Mt Barker Regional Saleyards manager Greg Moore also said it was “business as usual”.

“We take our direction from our health officer who is updated daily from the WA Government and WA Health (Department),” he said.

“Should things change, we will then be briefed as to any changes.”

Muchea Livestock Centre also confirmed there were no extra restrictions in place.

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