Moyne, Warrnambool vie for new saleyards contenders

SEPARATE campaigns are being waged by the Warrnambool City Council and Moyne Shire to attract commercial interest in building a new regional livestock selling centre. 

The municipalities both want to lure a business to the region with hopes to establish a new centre and replace the ageing facility on Caramut Road.

Both have told The Standard they are speaking to “multiple parties”.

Moyne’s mayor James Purcell said the shire’s councillors were tired of waiting for Warrnambool. 

“We felt that this was an important issue for our ratepayers and we didn’t think there was enough action in Warrnambool,” he said. 

Cr Purcell said the move wasn’t aimed at bringing more of Warrnambool’s services into Moyne. 

“I would support making Warrnambool as strong as it can be,” Cr Purcell said, but added dairy and beef contributed to 70 per cent of Moyne’s economic base.

“It’s too important to mess this one up.” 

Moyne is testing the waters through word of mouth and has been encouraged by two parties coming forward with ideas. 

Cr Purcell said Mortlake and Koroit are being flagged as potential sites. 

“We’ve had two parties who have approached us with interesting proposals,” Cr Purcell said. 

The shire has accused Warrnambool of taking too long in the search while Warrnambool says it is trying to finalise a sustainable plan to ensure the future of the livestock centre in a tough market.

Warrnambool mayor Mike Neoh said the search was now a “live process” after lining up interest to build the centre that could cost anywhere between $12-$15 million. 

Even if Warrnambool comes out ahead in the campaign, new saleyards would still need to be built in either Moyne or Corangamite shires. 

Warrnambool is seeking the site within 40 kilometres of the city boundary after initially failing to strike up interest within a 20-kilometre distance. 

“We want to keep it relatively close to Warrnambool,” Cr Neoh said. 

Cr Neoh drew comparisons between Australia’s manufacturing decline and the profitability of saleyards. 

“You can turn a blind eye but if you look at the figures at the saleyard it’s been declining by 30 per cent over the past 10 years,” he said. 

“There will be a tipping point for smaller saleyards.” 

He said the 40-year-old site on Caramut Road needed to replaced by a large “consolidated” facility that could service the south-west. 

Both councils have ruled out investing in any new facility. 

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