Nats WA MP urges action on saleyards

Zach RelphCountryman
Boyanup saleyards.
Camera IconBoyanup saleyards. Credit: Danella Bevis

The McGowan Government is adamant the Boyanup saleyards will not emerge as a 2021 State Election issue, despite failing to shore up the facility’s future in the past four years.

The future of the South West’s only livestock selling centre, based in the Shire of Capel, has remained shrouded with uncertainty since WA headed to the polls in 2017.

At the last election decider, WA Labor, WA Liberals and Nationals WA pitched differing pledges to move the outdated 59-year-old facility ahead of its slated closure in 2022.

It came after the former Barnett government had backed plans to replace the Boyanup saleyards with a new South West facility following the 2008 State election.

However, Countryman revealed last November the McGowan Government was mulling over a decision to keep the facility open until 2032 — a decade beyond its current lease.

With a decision on if the saleyards will be upgraded or replaced yet to be confirmed, Nationals WA MLC Colin Holt reignited debate last fortnight and demanded answers.

WA Agriculture Alannah MacTiernan acknowledged it had been a “frustrating” process, but said a solution was approaching.

“We are working to finalise a solution for this issue, and it is frustrating that it has taken so long to come to conclusion,” she said.

“Since the Shire of Capel’s decision last year to allow the saleyards to remain in place, we have engaged a consultant to cost upgrades to the facility to bring it up to a reasonable standard, particularly to meet modern animal welfare and environmental requirements.

“That work is under way now and, hopefully, will not take too much longer.”

Mr Holt savaged the delay and noted the saleyards’ importance to the region.

He said South West farmers and livestock agents needed reassurance.

“In WA, Labor’s 2017 election campaign, they promised to ‘fast-track’ a livestock precinct in the South West to replace the ageing Boyanup saleyards,” Mr Holt said.

“Three years on, the agricultural community is still waiting.

“No new site has been identified, no contracts have been issued and no work has been done.”

The Boyanup saleyards are based on crown land vested in the Shire of Capel and leased to WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association.

WALSA, a joint venture between Landmark and Elders, operates the existing saleyard facilities.

The State Government, Shire of Capel and WALSA were discussing who will fund a proposed upgrade, if the saleyards remain open.

Ms MacTiernan said the State Government had been negotiating “a future operating model” with WALSA.

“We expect that if taxpayer funding needs to be put in, there should be a more open arrangement for access to the facility than there is currently,” she said.

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