Decision pending: The Richmond Valley Council is expected to decide on the fate of the Casino saleyards at a June 15 meeting.
Decision pending: The Richmond Valley Council is expected to decide on the fate of the Casino saleyards at a June 15 meeting.

$9m tag put on Casino saleyards

RICHMOND Valley Council is expected to decide next week whether it should further investigate the possible sale of its regional livestock exchange at Casino.

Council’s director of works, Gary Murphy, has confirmed his report on the future of the saleyards would be presented to the June 15 council meeting.

Mr Murphy said it was apparent from the feedback received at a public meeting last month that the community believed the council should take one of two actions

“There were two schools of thoughts at the meeting,” he said.

“The first was that council was doing a pretty good job running the saleyards and things should be left as they are.

“The second was that the council should call for expressions of interest that address set criteria, consult with the users of the complex and then make a decision in the best interests of the community.”

The council sought community input on the future of the saleyards at a public meeting on May 10 after receiving two approaches to sell the multi-million dollar complex at Nammoona.

“This whole process started after the agents’ association approached council with a possible purchaser who it was believed could do a better job of running thesaleyards complex,” Mr Murphy said.

The would-be buyer was the NSW-based company Regional Infrastructure Pty Ltd, which was formed to develop a network of modern regional livestock exchanges across Australia.

It built and runs the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange, which houses about 4000 head of cattle and 24,000 head of sheep under cover.

Earlier this year, it also took over the Gracemere Saleyards from the Rockhampton Regional Council and is now operating it as the Central Queensland Livestock Exchange.

According to the company’s website, it is investigating a number of similar opportunities where council-owned saleyards are under pressure.

Issues at council saleyards include: health and safety problems; environmental standards; animal welfare issues; encroaching housing and industrial development; the need to spend large capital amounts on modernisation; the need to cater for the new Meat Standards Australia (MSA) requirement; the need to provide room for complementary agricultural businesses.

Since the initial approach from the local agents, the council also received an offer from Casino-based businessman John McMahon to buy the saleyards.

He has a DA before council to build a rail terminal on land adjacent to the saleyards.

While the council has yet to decide on the saleyard’s fate, it has put a minimum price tag of $9 million on any sale.



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