SW livestock group wants saleyard co-operative
A South West livestock group is locked in a bitter showdown with the State Government over the region’s highly anticipated saleyard, maintaining the facility must be established under a co-operative model.
As reported by Countryman earlier this month, the South West Beef Co-operative’s expression of interest to manage the new South West saleyard was knocked back by the McGowan Government.
The farming body’s application, supported by WAFarmers, failed to make it to the next stage of the application process after the five respondents were slashed to two last Tuesday.
WAFarmers livestock president David Slade described the co-operative approach as an “effective model”, similar to systems followed at the Katanning and Mt Barker saleyards.
“We were hoping the same model could have been adopted for the new South West saleyards and Muchea, given the potential impact that a monopoly situation could have for livestock producers,” he said.
WA Agricultural Minister Alannah MacTiernan has refused to reveal which two private applicants have been short-listed since the announcement.
While remaining coy on successful respondents, Ms MacTiernan responded to Mr Slade’s concerns and said the group’s application was too dependent on taxpayer money.
“The group’s expression of interest relied on very large amounts of taxpayer funding, which is not appropriate when a market solution exists and did not meet the selection criteria,” she said. “In terms of saleyard fees, regulatory measures can be used to ensure fairness for all participants.”
It was rumoured prominent Bunbury business identity Colin Piacentini had made a submission and was one of the two selected respondents.
However, Mr Piacentini, managing director at earthmoving and mining company Piacentini and Son, dispelled speculation when questioned by Countryman.
Mr Slade maintained the proposed South West saleyard and Muchea lease should be controlled by a co-operative.
“WAFarmers do not support the ownership of two major saleyards being in the hands of one private company,” he said.
“WAFarmers believes a co-operative model will benefit South West livestock producers because a farmer-led co-operative has the interest of livestock producers front and centre and will keep saleyard fees cost-effective to all participants.”
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