Frustration continues after Casino saleyards standoff
THE stalemate at the Casino Saleyards is finally over, but agents and vendors say they are still left with a bad taste in their mouth after negotiations didn't go the way they planned.
Casino Auctioneers Association president, Matthew McCormack, said it was good to be back to work but was still feeling frustrated that agents proposals were overlooked during negotiations.
"Our proposal to council was to leave the vendor fees as they were until the first stage was built, which is roughly November 1, and then raise the vendor fees from $11 to $11.75 until March 1 which then the next stage should be done and from March 1 go to $12.50 until the end of June and then hopefully from then stay at $12.50," Mr McCormack said.
"We were good enough to go to them to try and make a compromise but they never came back to us."
Richmond Valley Council ended the closure this week when they reluctantly decided to halve its originally proposed usage fee of $1 per animal.
General manager Vaughan McDonald said while the closure was unfortunate, the council felt it was necessary in order to bring agents back to the table.
"It wasn't a decision council wanted to make but the negotiations with agents just led to the fact that we needed to stand our ground and unfortunately had to close for a couple of weeks to get an agreement in place," he said.
"We've got debts, we got to pay them and council has decided that those using the facility need to make a contribution to that."
However, Mr McCormack said he felt the price hike was unfair especially when the Northern Rivers Livestock exchange (NRLX) is working around the construction for stage 1 of the facility upgrade.
"As I have said all along there is no need for any more than $11 while the upgrade is on, it's just simply greed," he said.
"Whilst it is getting built, you can't present the cattle right, and all these other sort of challenges, I just think it's absolutely rude to expect people to pay that full rate."
He said once the upgrade was completed he would have no trouble paying the proposed $12.50.
"$12.50 is pretty reasonable for a brand-new set up and the cattle are going to be comfortable and hopefully leave out of here in a good way too," Mr McCormack said.
Mr McDonald said it was a great result to have to NRLX back in action this week.
"It is great the sales are back on, we were certainly very conscious of the impact that it was having on the wider community, people who are employed there, truck drivers, people who run the canteen and the staff out there," he said.