Geelong Saleyards recommendation to close

Monday, 31 July 2017

At a Special Meeting of Council on Wednesday 2 August the City’s Administrators will consider a recommendation to permanently close the Geelong Saleyards for the sale of sheep and cattle by 31 August 2017.

A Geelong Saleyards report to Council, which includes a range of information requested by the Administrators at an Ordinary Meeting of Council in December, also recommends that Administrators engage with the operators of Geelong’s poultry sales to determine the future of sales at the site, and with representatives of the livestock transport industry to determine the future of the site’s truck wash.

The report recommends that Administrators engage with the community to develop a strategy that recognises the history of the 150-year-old Geelong Saleyards, and develop a precinct plan for the saleyards’ Weddell Road site.

In August 2016 the City closed the Geelong Saleyards for sheep and cattle sales due to significant Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) issues.

Works commenced in November to enable safe operations of sheep sales at the site.

In December the Administrators resolved to defer a decision on costly cattle yard repair works, and future operations at the Geelong Saleyards, until the completion of an independent local stock market analysis, a full costing of OH&S works on the cattle yards and a regional agribusiness strategy.

The Geelong Saleyards opened for the sale of sheep only in January following the installation of new metal selling pens, restoration of timber holding pens and overhead walkways, construction of new retaining walls, improvements to loading ramps and other associated OH&S works.

Independent local stock market analysis

In May the City’s Administrators formally noted an independent Saleyards Livestock Market Analysis Report.

The Geelong Saleyards report to Council states that this analysis suggested the saleyards model in Geelong is “not the solution to the challenge of providing a livestock exchange for the demographic existing now and into the future”.

Full costing of OH&S works on the cattle yards

The Geelong Saleyards report states that the financial performance of the Geelong Saleyards during the past 10 years has declined, with the last two years resulting in losses of more than $200,000 per annum.

The report highlights that the cost to repair cattle pens to acceptable operations (without a roof) is estimated at $2,895,000.

Regional agribusiness strategy

The Geelong Saleyards report notes that a Sustainable Agribusiness Strategy for the G21 Region, which will be presented to the City’s Administrators at Wednesday night’s Special Meeting of Council, indicates that of the region’s livestock share, more than three quarters of the livestock comes from outside Greater Geelong’s municipal boundary.

The Geelong Saleyards report states that at the request of the G21 Board, the City of Greater Geelong and Colac Otway Shire engaged independent consultant Mecardo to report on the Colac Regional Saleyards as an option, should the Geelong Saleyards close.

The report notes that Mecardo suggested a transition of livestock sales to Colac could be accommodated by an additional fortnightly Monday sale day and minor modifications to the Colac site.

View the Mecardo report.

The Geelong Saleyards report also notes that the two main selling agents at the Geelong Saleyards have advised the City, in writing, that due to the cost to their business they would not provide a service should the site remain open for cattle sales in the future.

The City’s Administrators will consider the Geelong Saleyards report and its recommendations at a Special Meeting of Council from 6:30pm at City Hall on Wednesday 2 August 2017.

View the Special Meeting agenda where you will be able to read the:

  • recommendation to close

  • Geelong Saleyards Report.