The completion of the Regional Livestock Saleyard Strategy in the state’s South West is critical for the development of Western Australia’s livestock industry, according to WAFarmers.
Speaking on one of the six WAFarmers Policy Priorities for the State Election, WAFarmers President Tony York said the expiry of the lease for the current regional saleyard site in Boyanup in 2022 provided clear a clear opportunity for the State Government to invest in the industry and capitalise on consumer demand.
“WAFarmers calls on the State Government to endorse a commitment made by the government of the day in 2009, to invest in the redevelopment of a new innovative Agricultural Precinct,” Mr York said.
“The establishment of an innovative new Agricultural Precinct in the state’s South West by way of State Government funding would include a new livestock saleyard, biosecurity assembly point and export depot, to ensure a seamless transition from the Boyanup saleyards by 2022.
Mr York said little money had been directed into industry capital infrastructure over the last 20 years, with the exception being the Great Southern Regional Cattle Saleyards.
“The majority of saleyards struggle to meet satisfactory operating conditions leaving them exposed to animal welfare, occupational health and safety, and public liability issues,” he said.
“Ageing infrastructure and out-dated design also inhibit saleyards’ ability to adopt modern technology, and restricts the capacity to offer value-adding services to their clients.
“State Government investment into this new precinct would go a long way to improving biosecurity protocols in the South West, which is undergoing resurgence due to strong demand for red meat from Asian markets.
“Further, a state-of-the-art Agricultural Precinct certainly has the potential to develop into a key community business centre that would bring new confidence, encourage private investment and grow the regional agricultural sector into a vibrant, world class and internationally competitive industry.”
Mr York said government investment was needed now to acquire the proposed site, including the provision of head-works, and the ‘grandfathering’ of the site to protect it from urban sprawl and conflicting land uses.
“The former mineral sands mine site at Gwindinup, operated by Cristal Mining, is regarded as the best potential location for the precinct,” he said.
“A window of opportunity exists now, to secure this site of potentially up to 300 hectares that would operate as an all-inclusive centre whereby all livestock agents and businesses could operate in an open, transparent and competitive manner.
WAFarmers welcomed this week’s commitment from the Liberal Party of WA which said the party, if re-elected, would allocate $2 million towards the acquisition of land for a livestock handling facility to replace the Boyanup saleyards.
WAFarmers will advocate for the Gwindinup site as the best location for the facility, and will encourage the elected government to work with WAFarmers during this process.