Call for new saleyard subsidy

Zach RelphCountryman
Elgin farmer Jim Quilty is calling for the new South West saleyard to remain in the Shire of Capel.
Camera IconElgin farmer Jim Quilty is calling for the new South West saleyard to remain in the Shire of Capel. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

The State Government is being urged to not completely wipe its hands clean of the proposed new South West saleyard development ahead of plans to award the asset to a private investor.

Expressions of interest for the so-called South West Saleyard Solution close tomorrow, with the short-listed applicants to be revealed next month. The preferred respondent is due to be appointed by March next year, ahead of the 57-year-old Boyanup saleyard’s expected closure in 2022.

Elgin Park stud principal Jim Quilty said the touted saleyard needed to remain in the Shire of Capel, citing its central location for South West farmers, possibly along Lowrie Road near Gwindinup.

“The proximity of the roads, with the South Western Highway, makes it a central area that suits,” he said. “I can’t see any reason to take the yards too far away from this area, to be honest.”

Blackrock Angus owner and director Ken MacLeay, who holds an annual bull sale at the Boyanup saleyard each February, said he was unfazed about where the new saleyard was established.

However, the Vasse-based Angus sire producer called for the McGowan Government to provide a subsidy to the new owner-operator to promote the facility.

“It would be great for the State Government to be on board and contributing to the new facility,” he said.

“It is infrastructure which will generate wealth for the beef industry, which is an industry on the rise. A subsidy would encourage the industry to grow.”

The lease for the Boyanup saleyard, which has operated since 1961 and processes about 60,000 cattle annually, expires in 2022.

The WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association exclusively leases and manages the saleyard under the WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association banner.

Mr Quilty also echoed Mr MacLeay’s plea for a State Government subsidy, while suggesting the South West saleyard’s design could replicate the Mt Barker saleyard, which was the 2017 National Award for Animal Welfare in Saleyards and Lairages winner.

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan last month flagged the State would consider leasing the Muchea Livestock Centre to the new South West saleyard developer.

Shadow Agricultural Minister Ian Blayney said funds still held in reserve, believed to be between $6-8 million, from the former Barnett government’s sale of the Midland saleyard in 2010 needed to be committed to the new asset.

A spokesman for Ms MacTiernan said she would wait for the tender process’ outcomes before “commenting further on potential sites and solutions”.

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