WA Livestock Sellers Association Seeks Answers at Capel Shire Boyanup Sales Yards | weekly farm
The Western Australian Livestock Sellers Association (WALSA) has hit back at recent media reports suggesting the Boyanup Saleyards facility is ‘archaic’ and ‘fails to meet basic animal welfare standards’ .
WALSA President Dean Hubbard said WALSA was in regular contact with the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development (DPIRD) and WorkSafe and no such suggestions or advice had been given to him by the one or other of the parties.
“WorkSafe approved the enhancements they deemed appropriate last year and WALSA has received no further requests from them throughout our ongoing dialogue,” Hubbard said.
“DPIRD representatives attend all sales held at Boyanup and there has been no approach from them regarding any issues, or from any other industry body for that matter.”
WALSA has leased the Boyanup Saleyards site to the County of Capel since 2002, but owns all the surface infrastructure and 30% of the land on which it is located.
Two land titles are owned by the state government as Crown land given to the County of Capel for the express purpose of using the vending and parking facilities in 1964 and 1967, the remaining title being held by the reserve rail from the Public Transport Authority.
Much of the dissent over the Boyanup Sell Yards, which was established in 1961, stems from the long-running debate over whether the yards should be renovated or replaced, with the industry largely calling for the construction of a new Southwest Sales Yards facility since closing. of the Midland Saleyards in April 2010 and the subsequent opening of its replacement, the new State Government owned WAMIA Muchea Breeding Center in May 2010.
“Based on the 2017 Deloitte report, we had high hopes, and some expectation, that a new sales yards facility would be built at Boyanup well before WALSA’s current lease expires on June 30 this year. “, Mr. Hubbard said.
“But it continued to be a political hot potato regardless of which party was in power and two and a half years ago it became apparent to WALSA that the construction of a new facility by the government seemed highly unlikely.
Mr Hubbard said that ahead of the last state election in March 2021, WALSA received a letter from Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan stating that it would support the long-term leasing of the Boyanup Saleyards to WALSA, provided it assumes responsibility for renovations, upgrades, traffic management, extensions of yards and other designated items.
“Immediately following the election, WALSA entered into discussions with the County of Capel and we had several very productive meetings,” Mr. Hubbard said.
“An agreement in principle outlining the details of a long-term lease has been drafted but not filed.
“Negotiations stalled in early 2021 when the ACCC set out to investigate a complaint it had received that Capel County had engaged in anti-competitive conduct in awarding the Boyanup Saleyards lease to WALSA .
“While the ACCC concluded there were no cases to respond to, it cost us several months of negotiation time while the investigation unfolded.”
Mr Hubbard said negotiations had been further hampered by local government elections in Capel County, which saw three new councilors elected and resulted in a period of interim CEO.
“We accept that a new CEO needs time to work things out, but that means we didn’t have a new dialogue with the board until November last year,” he said.
“And the first meeting of the full council where the lease could be discussed was not held until January 19 of this year.”
Mr Hubbard said that although no formal lease agreement was provided to WALSA, an agreement in principle offered a 10-year lease with an additional 10 years “subject to the mutual agreement of both parties to the era”.
“We are very uncomfortable with the nature of the 10-year option by mutual agreement,” Hubbard said.
“Given the amount of money that WALSA would have to spend on modernizing the yards, according to what the minister described in her letter and what the council is proposing, we need a much greater guarantee over the duration of our rental agreement.
“We need to be sure that we have the option of a 20-year contract based on 10 plus 10 years, not 10 years with maybe 10 more years.
“Any business in this same situation would expect this, to justify the scale of the financial outlay involved.
“Council have asked WALSA to provide details of the capital works and improvements they would undertake on the basis of a new lease, but it is very difficult (and perhaps even fiscally irresponsible) to provide this commitment until this issue is resolved.”
Mr Hubbard said that with the current lease expiring in just four months, there was very little time left for action.
“Based on this, we have asked the council for a short-term extension to our current lease, but this has not yet been granted,” he said.
Given that the terms of the current lease include a ‘remedies’ clause that WALSA must return the site to bare land when the lease expires, there is a very real possibility that South West cattle ranchers find themselves without installation of Boyanup Saleyards beyond June 30th.
Shire of Capel chairman Doug Kitchen confirmed the board was in talks with WALSA and a new lease agreement was being negotiated.
“In accordance with due process, we publicly announced our intention to renew the lease with WALSA last November and received 11 submissions as a result (between December 7, 2021 and January 5, 2022),” Mr. Kitchen said.
“These were tabled at our board meeting on Wednesday 19th January and given much of the feedback from the public submissions centered on the longer term future of the sales yards, this formed the basis of our decisions.
“Sales Yards are important to the Southwest, to our local economy, our growers and have tremendous economic value to Capel County, so we want them to remain in the district, but located outside of the town of Boyanup,” Mr Kitchen said. .
The County began a dialogue about moving the yards in 2017 when discussing a five-year lease of the sales yards with WALSA.
“An expression of interest process was conducted by WAMIA on behalf of the state government in August 2018, but did not receive sufficient responses to advance a viable replacement yard sale option for the area. of the South West”.
But at its February 2022 council meeting, the County decided to reconsider the question of the site of the sales yards with the intention of finding a suitable site in the County of Capel, constructing a new facility with industrial partners, public or private or both and preferably with the State. and assistance from the federal government, Mr. Kitchen said.
“In an ideal situation, we would expect a new long-term facility to be operational at the end of the next 10-year lease period and we would seek third-party expertise to manage such a facility once built,” a- he declared. .
“In the meantime, the County and WALSA are working to ensure the new lease is in place by June 30, but if negotiations are not completed by then, a ‘hold period’ may exist. in which the terms of the original lease remain in place until the new lease agreement is finalized,” Mr. Kitchen said.
The granting of the new lease to WALSA by Capel County (as noted in council minutes from its Jan. 19 meeting) is “subject to negotiation of a capital upgrade plan and a management plan with WALSA which addresses compliance, but is not limited to:
I. Animal welfare legislation, regulations and standards
ii. WHS standards, worker qualifications and incident response plans
iii. Environmental issues including waste and effluent management, odours, noise and dust
iv. Operating standards, safety and deadlines
v. Public access, circulation and management of vehicles, parking and entry requirements
vi. Access for people with disabilities
vii. Installation standards, conveniences and maintenance.
viii. Installing shade sails or a solid roof on all livestock pens by October 31, 2022
This must be done to the satisfaction of county officers.”
What now remains is for WALSA and Capel County to reach an agreement by signing a new lease for the operation of the Boyanup Saleyards or livestock producers in southwestern WA could be left without this sales facility local regional after June 30.
THE 2017 REPORT HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF SALE SALES
A 50-page report by Deloitte Access Economics, on the replacement of Boyanup sales yards, released in May 2017, included the following statements.
Deloitte Access Economics (Deloitte) has been engaged by the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority (WAMIA) to assess the future need for a livestock facility in South West Western Australia to replace the Boyanup sales yards .
Boyanup’s current sales park is old and needs investment to meet current and future standards (such as animal welfare).
Its age and proximity to residential areas limit further development and in 2022 the site lease will expire and is not expected to be renewed.
General conclusion on the need to replace Boyanup (Questions 1, 4 and 5)
Our analysis indicates that there is a need for a replacement retail park in the South West, in that there will be continued demand for a retail park in the region.
Key evidence supporting this view includes:
- Boyanup’s closure creates an instant market for a new facility, with an existing pool of engaged users.
- An upward trend in demand for Boyanup over the past 15 years despite a declining South West herd.
- The predominance of small producers in the South-West who depend heavily on the Boyanup flea markets.
Most primary producers in the South West operate small herds of beef cattle – the median number of cattle sold by Boyanup users was 21 over the period from 2015 to 2017.
- Auctions are the most suitable selling method for small producers, with other selling methods (direct selling, online auctions and “above the hooks” sales) tending to be preferred by larger producers.
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