The Coffs Coast Advocate

Cattle yards sale proves hard sell

DISTRICT cattle producers voiced fears about a possible sell-off of the Richmond Valley Council-owned Casino saleyards at a meeting yesterday which aimed to garner user feedback.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” was the resounding sentiment from the floor.

Richmond Valley Council’s director of works, Gary Murphy, assured the crowd that council had not reached a decision to sell and would not be selling the Regional Livestock Selling Centre – with a depreciated value of $4.8 million dollars – for less than $9 million.

“But ultimately it is council’s decision,” he said.

Several cattle producers said they feared fees would increase under new management.

Peter Carlill, of Cedar Point, represented many cattle producers when he said, ‘it’s too good to let go’.

“It’s a service that needs to maintained and the council has done a great job self-funding it,” he said.

The council has confirmed receiving overtures from two interested buyers – Regional Infrastructure and local businessman John McMahon.

Mr McMahon, who has interests in the planned Summerdowns Rail Terminal project in Casino, would not divulge his offer price, but confirmed it was below the $9 million asking price.

He said any sell-off had many advantages for cattle producers and transporters in the long term.

“We trust council will follow all necessary processes to ensure the facility sees increased success and there will be plans for long-term viability enabling the primary producers of our area to enjoy a high-quality facility,” he said.

Among the options discussed at the meeting was a conditional leasing agreement, whereby council could enforce capped fees and levies as a condition of lease.

“There is a danger that if we don’t accept a proposal, the dollars will go elsewhere,” Mr Murphy said.

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