MOYNE Shire Council has voted to carry out a community consultation process on plans for a regional saleyards because Warrnambool City Council’s community consultation was “sadly lacking”, according to Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell.
Cr Purcell told last night’s Moyne Shire Council meeting that reports suggesting the regional facility might be located as far away as Camperdown or Colac would not help Moyne’s agricultural base.
He said agriculture underpinned the shire’s economy and the council needed to ensure decisions about a regional selling centre were in the best interests of Moyne residents.
Cr Purcell said the council had lodged one of the two submissions that Warrnambool City Council received when it called for expressions of interest in running a saleyards to replace the Caramut Road facility.
Moyne’s expression of interest was ruled as “non-compliant” which was “unfortunate”, Cr Purcell said.
The only other applicant was Regional Infrastructure Pty Ltd (RIPL), which was chosen by Warrnambool City as its preferred proponent to pursue the plan for a regional saleyards.
Cr Purcell said the response to the expressions of interest had been “small” when the importance of the facility to the shire was taken into account.
He said he did not believe Moyne Shire should run the saleyards. However, the council should develop a proposal to set up a community co-operative to buy and operate the livestock centre so that all options were considered.
The community consultation on the issue was likely to involve public meetings and a survey, he said.
Cr Colin Ryan said a Warrnambool saleyards reference group, of which he was a member, had recommended in 2010 that Warrnambool City support the construction of a new saleyards only if the new facility was within 20 kilometres of Warrnambool’s central business district.
The reference group had also recommended that Warrnambool City start discussions with Moyne about the location and ownership of any future saleyards that would replace the existing Caramut Road facility.
“We have heard nothing,” Cr Ryan said.
He said 80 per cent of the cattle traded through the Warrnambool saleyards came from the Moyne Shire.
Moyne had “every right to demand, we are directly involved” in the decision to replace the existing Warrnambool saleyards with a new regional facility because the decision would have a big impact on Moyne Shire ratepayers, Cr Ryan said.