Opposition calls for Boyanup Saleyards to be rebuilt

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenCountryman
Boyanup Saleyards.
Camera IconBoyanup Saleyards. Credit: Danella Bevis

The Liberals and Nationals have welcomed a proposal to renew the lease agreement at the Boyanup Saleyards, but are calling on the State Government to rebuild the ageing facility as a “long-term solution”.

The Shire of Capel will vote in January whether to renew its lease agreement with the WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association for 10-years with the option of a 10-year extension.

It comes after an investigation by the ACCC found the controversial arrangement, which excludes independent livestock agencies from selling cattle at the saleyard, did not breach competition law.

Shadow agriculture minister Colin de Grussa said extending the existing lease was a necessary short-term solution.

“The ACCC has reportedly removed any competition barrier to the lease extension, and we hope that the Shire of Capel will now move rapidly to get that extension in place,” he said.

“With the current lease expiring in less than one year, the State Government has no time left to put any real alternative in place and an extension of the current facility is vital to support the cattle industries of the South West.

“The Government’s own report told them that this is a critical piece of infrastructure for agriculture in this State, so the only short-term solution is to get the lease extension done.”

Shadow agriculture minister Colin de Grussa at his Neridup farm.
Camera IconShadow agriculture minister Colin de Grussa at his Neridup farm. Credit: Danella Bevis

Shadow Treasurer Steve Thomas said the extension would allow enough time for a long-term solution to be delivered, adding that the only way forward was to rebuild the yards in a “different but suitable location in the same region”.

“The State Government needs to work with industry in developing a best practice, truly multi-user facility that serves the needs of the whole sector,” he said.

“We took a rebuild commitment to the last election, and it is well and truly past time for the Government to match it.

“With $15 billion in budget surpluses predicted over five years, there was no excuse not to invest in South West agriculture and deliver this vital facility.”

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan previously told Countryman it made sense to use the site for another decade as the industry underwent a transition in how livestock are sold.

“There is a clear shift towards direct sales — this new lease would give us time to see where this finally lands,” she said.

Dr Thomas accused Ms MacTiernan of “short-changing” the South West cattle industry by “refusing” to build a replacement.

“Her excuse that all cattle sales will be online in a decade is laughable,” he said.

“I have been hearing about online sales taking over for decades, and the small uptake to date makes the Agriculture Minister’s position a dud excuse not to invest.”

Dr Thomas stopped short of suggesting a location, but said the new saleyards should be built “not too far from the current site”.

The Shire of Capel has leased the saleyards to WALSA since 2002.

The existing lease agreement expires in June 2022.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails