Livestock transfer goes under radar

Livestock transfer goes under radar

Matters relating to the use of the Millicent stock transfer facility were frequently aired at two recent meetings of Wattle Range Council.

Its Audit and Risk Committee had met at 2pm on November 14 and it was followed three hours later by the monthly council meeting.

The Millicent saleyards had closed as a selling centre on June 30 and had morphed solely into a stock transfer facility.

Council had little knowledge of much use over the past four months but others were of the opinion that up to 1600 head of sheep and cattle had passed through since July 1.

A Millicent grazier had placed notices in the office windows of agents claiming the 1600 figure was correct and at odds with senior council staff.

Chief executive Ben Gower told the Audit and Risk Committee meeting there had been no applications yet from graziers to use the stock transit facility and no paperwork had been submitted or fees paid to council.

Councillor David Walshaw said the venue should be out-of-bounds to graziers until the site orientation and induction had been completed.

Cr Walshaw expressed concern the office window notices had targeted senior staff.

He said Wattle Range Council faced significant exposure if such numbers of stock were using the yards and committee chairman Michael Schultz agreed

His committee formally noted that Mr Gower will reassess the workplace health and safety and biosecurity risks associated with unauthorised access to the Millicent stock transfer facility.

Furthermore, the committee noted the continued potential for psychological risk associated with members of the public directing their attentions to senior staff in respect to council-made decisions.

Further consideration about the Millicent stock transfer facility was given at the full council meeting later that day.

Deputy chief executive Paul Duka said council had not received any fees from stock transit use and there were biosecurity risks.

Both Mr Gower and Mayor Des Noll questioned the authenticity of the 1600 figure while Cr Moira Neagle said the figures had been sourced from the local agents.

Cr Neagle said signage reminding graziers of their reporting obligations to council had not been in place and Cr Sharon Cox had said the signs were only erected in early November.

Elders Millicent manager Scott Altschwager then made a presentation to the council regarding his perceptions around the operation of the stock transfer facility.

Mr Altschwager said his company had transited stock through the yards since July 1 comprising 762 sheep and 14 head of cattle.

He provided an increased understanding of how livestock movements can be facilitated whilst meeting regulatory requirements.

The Elders Millicent manager said he agreed with the statement of Cr Neagle that transiting stock at Millicent has value to local agents and farmers.

The last matter concerning the Millicent stock transfer facility was a notice of motion from Cr Cox.

She successfully moved that Wattle Range Council reduce the truck wash fees to $1 per minute to be more competitive with neighbouring councils.

Earlier this year, Cr Cox had initiated the push for a $1.50 per minute charge to match anticipated higher charges at nearby facilities but these did not eventuate.

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