‘Beef’ shared over saleyard upgrades

‘Beef’ shared over saleyard upgrades

Sharp differences in opinion about the use of the Millicent Saleyards as a stock transit facility were aired at the February monthly meeting of Wattle Range Council with one elected member claiming it was a death by a thousand cuts.

Councillor Deb Agnew argued strongly the upgrades to meet Safework SA standards were undertaken in line with a council decision made in mid-2023.

According to Cr Agnew, some of her fellow councillors were ‘termiting away’ at this decision.

She warned that small scale farmers would be disadvantaged if the Millicent Saleyards ceased to be a stock transit facility.

“Stock agents are exhausted by the fight,” Cr Agnew said.

“They do not know if they are Arthur or Martha.

“They missed attending the last saleyards committee meeting as they were busy due to rising sheep prices.

“Wattle Range Council spends a lot of money on halls. We should not be disadvantaging the small farmers.

“Millicent was born out of primary production. We should give the Millicent saleyards two years dating back to June, 2023.

“Council has been treating the agricultural sector poorly.”

However, a contrary point of view was expressed by Cr David Walshaw.

He was at pains to point out that it was not the intention of the council to shut the truck wash located at the saleyards.

Cr Walshaw said he was worried that council was looking to spend a further $709,000 on an under-performing asset.

“We are investing a lot of money for hobby farmers,” Cr Walshaw said.

“Only two cattle and 239 sheep have gone through the yards.

“The stock agents are not turning up at meetings.

“The yards are not being embraced by either the stock agents or the producers.

“People are sending their stock to markets at Naracoorte and Mount Gambier.

“We should be getting council’s audit and risk committee to examine the situation.”

Council chief executive Ben Gower said there were maintenance requirements ordered by a Safework SA auditor.

He pointed out there were issues relating to the asbestos-riddled two-storied administration building as well as one of the loading ramps.

According to Mr Gower, there was a report of someone sleeping rough at the Millicent saleyards.

Cr Walshaw’s motion for staff to provide an updated report regarding saleyards maintenance and usage was passed seven votes to three.

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