MOYNE Shire Council has received a major body blow in its bid to get other south-west councils to discuss the need for new regional saleyards.
Mayor James Purcell put the issue to the Great South Coast Group board of six municipalities, but it didn’t get past first base because no one would second his motion.
“I was stunned,” he told The Standard yesterday. “I just didn’t see this result coming because we thought it was a good issue.
“All we wanted the members to approve was to approach the state government for money to investigate where the best location would be for a new regional livestock selling centre.
“Great South Coast should be big enough to discuss a regional saleyards. I got the feeling they didn’t want to. I think they felt it had been discussed enough already.
“I’m not sure where we go from here. We will discuss the issue further in workshops before bringing it back to open council.”
Moyne had earlier held community meetings at Koroit and Mortlake where attendees supported the council’s decision to explore options for attracting a new regional saleyards.
The Koroit meeting suggested a co-operative ownership while Mortlake attendees called for a regional approach to get a feasibility study under way.
Warrnambool City Council and Corangamite Shire Council are already engaged in their discussions with Regional Infrastructure Pty Ltd about building a new selling centre in their municipality.
Fellow Moyne Shire councillor Jim Doukas said the lack of Great South Coast board interest was “pretty ordinary”.
“Being a former board member I think to have our motion lapse for want of a seconder makes a mockery of the whole organisation and is hypocritical,” he said.
“Although Warrnambool and Corangamite are doing their own work on finding a new saleyards operator it shouldn’t stop them from discussing our suggestion.
“At our Mortlake meeting there were farmers from Corangamite attending — it’s a regional issue.”
According to the Great South Coast board minutes of June 20, Southern Grampians Shire Council representative Dennis Dawson indicated they would not favour a new regional saleyards in competition to the shire’s Hamilton yards.
Cr Dawson said the Victorian Livestock Association considered Hamilton as one of the state’s principal livestock exchanges and the council strongly felt the Great South Coast board should not encourage competition for the Hamilton operation.
He also said his council wanted to ensure its livestock exchange continued to be managed as a business asset.
The shire is committing $4.5 million in the coming four years with the first part of a redevelopment plan starting this financial year.
An alternative motion by Colac Otway Shire Council’s Frank Buchanan for the group to identify and support key public and private infrastructure investments also lapsed for want of a seconder.
Cr Purcell said he was surprised by Cr Buchanan’s suggestion and considered it merely a “motherhood statement”.