Saleyards company hoses down far-flung rumours

THE company interested in building a new regional livestock centre near Warrnambool has dismissed speculation the facility could be located up to 150 kilometres from the city.

The company, Regional Infrastructure Pty Ltd, yesterday confirmed it was seeking a site no further than 40km away.

Speculation arose after RIPL recently approached Corangamite Shire Council seeking to manage Camperdown’s saleyards before constructing a new multi-million-dollar selling centre in the municipality.

However, RIPL’s managing director Garry Edwards said that while the company expected a new regional saleyards would service a surrounding 150km radius, it would stick to its agreement with Warrnambool City Council to locate the new saleyards within 40km of the city’s boundaries.

“Everyone is getting well ahead of the building game,” Mr Edwards said.

He said the new regional saleyards would service not only the Warrnambool and Corangamite municipal areas but also Moyne and Colac Otway shires.

RIPL had begun negotiations with Warrnambool City about building new regional saleyards to replace the facility on Caramut Road but had only held one meeting so far with Corangamite on the proposal, Mr Edwards said.

It was yet to discuss the matter with the Moyne or Colac Otway councils, he said.

“It is our intention to have discussions with councils in the surrounding area so we fully understand the situation of each council,” Mr Edwards said.

He said the location would be determined not by council boundaries but by how well it could serve its various stakeholders. Regional saleyards that serviced an area beyond one municipality could provide more buyer competition for livestock, giving producers better prices, he said.

Regional yards with greater livestock throughput than municipal facilities could also better defray costs, Mr Edwards said, and were also more efficient for the transport of livestock.

He said many municipal saleyards were not meeting the move for better animal welfare, such as providing soft-floor and undercover facilities or workplace health and safety practices.

Municipal saleyards were “the last section of the livestock industry” in which government was involved, Mr Edwards said.

However, Southern Grampians Shire Council has expressed no desire to offload its Hamilton saleyards, voting this month that they remain in council hands.

Southern Grampians mayor Albert Calvano said the council had adopted the recommendation of the AEC consultancy group to maintain ownership of the saleyards and of Hamilton airport.

“However we will be reviewing their management structures,” Cr Calvano said.

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