NRLX cattle sales cancelled
NEXT week's sales at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) has been cancelled following the agents' decision to not sign their selling permits.
Council's General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said at issue was the fees and charges structure, in particular a new business usage fee of $1 per head of cattle.
Mr Macdonald said the adjustments to the fees and charges in the 2017-2018 Revenue Policy, which came into effect on July 1, were an important step to achieving improved results for the NRLX, to enable the business to fund the loan repayments and avoid any reliance on ratepayers' funds.
He said no one liked a fee increase, however, Council needed to address not only the revenue side of the business, but also the cost side to the equation.
"Last year the Richmond Valley community made it clear that Council should retain ownership of the NRLX,” Mr Macdonald said.
"This meant a number of changes for the facility. To upgrade, funding was needed. The Federal Government agreed to a $3.5 million co-contribution, meaning Council had to borrow $3.5 million to start stage one of the upgrade. Fortunately, the NSW Government has also come on board, promising $7 million to complete the $14 million project.
"By the end of next year, the NRLX will be recognised as one of the best saleyards in Australia with high standards of animal welfare, improved work health and safety conditions, quality effluent disposal, convenience for users, and efficient management systems.”
Mr Macdonald said the $113,616,791 sales turnover year to date was a record result, up from $87,950,124 last year.
He said this provided excellent returns for the region's beef producers and businesses operating out of the NRLX, as well as delivering an important economic stimulus into the Richmond Valley local economy.
Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow said Council was disappointed at having to bring this news.
However, Cr Mustow said without the increases repaying the loan and interest would require Council to draw on funds from ratepayers.
He said a study of other saleyards made it clear NRLX fees remained below industry standards.
"A fee structure had to be developed to ensure the NRLX operated as a self-sustaining business unit, with next to no reliance on ratepayer funds,” Cr Mustow said