Further information needed to decide Geelong Saleyards future

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Our Administrators will wait for the development of an agribusiness strategy for the region, the findings of a local market analysis and the full costs of cattle pen refurbishments required for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) before deciding on the long-term future of the Geelong Saleyards in mid-2017.

We will defer repairs on the facility’s cattle pens until “high and very high risk” OH&S works were costed and an independent expert local stock market analysis was completed.

An independent OH&S report received last week identified the need for a number of urgent repairs on the cattle pens before they could be safely used.

The cattle pen repairs were expected to cost in excess of $320,000 for materials only, in addition to approximately $150,000 of works already underway on the sheep pens, which will open for use in January.

Consistent with the previous council’s resolution in June 2015, we will work with the G21 group of councils, the G21 Agribusiness Forum and other agriculture peak bodies to establish an agribusiness strategy for the region.

The strategy will be used to inform the Administrators on a final decision for the future of the saleyards in mid-2017.

We need to consider what was best for the region’s agribusiness sector for the future in allocating council resources responsibly.

Dr Kathy Alexander - Administrator Chair

“Occupational Health and Safety legislation has caught up with the saleyards.
The independent OH&S report we received last week on the condition of the cattle pens made it absolutely clear that this part of the facility is in much worse condition than we anticipated and will require significantly more work and expense to ensure it’s safe for use.
We are committed to establishing a Geelong Saleyards Advisory Committee to advise on user issues, with terms of reference consistent with the Australian Code of Practice for Selling of Livestock. 
We’re also committed to working with buyers, sellers, agents and transporter representatives to immediately develop an interim cattle sales arrangement, or support for small lot sales."

Laurinda Gardner - Administrator

“This is an opportunity for regional councils to look at how we do cattle and sheep sales and, in light of industry changes, what the best way forward is."