Nats up the ante with $15m for saleyards

Cally Dupe and Bob GarnantSouth Western Times
Shire of Capel president Murray Scott, The Nationals WA Collie-Preston candidate Monique Warnock, Warren-Blackwood MP Terry Redman MP, Capel councillor Jennifer Scott and Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup president Angelo Logiudice.
Camera IconShire of Capel president Murray Scott, The Nationals WA Collie-Preston candidate Monique Warnock, Warren-Blackwood MP Terry Redman MP, Capel councillor Jennifer Scott and Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup president Angelo Logiudice. Credit: The Nationals WA

Livestock producers say they are both relieved and frustrated that the relocation of Boyanup saleyards has become a hot election issue.

Three major parties, WA Liberals, WA Labor and The Nationals, have made differing pledges to relocate the facility ahead of its impending closure in 2022.

The South West facility was the last of four WA sale yards flagged to be upgraded or relocated as part of a 2008 election sweetener.

While Muchea, Katanning and Mt Baker sites have each been upgraded, Boyanup has been left in a state of flux.

The Nationals this week announced $15 million to construct the yards, trumping WA Liberals’ recent pledge to set aside $2 million to buy land for a new yard.

On Monday, Labor said it would “work with the Shire of Capel to determine a suitable location for a new livestock precinct”, but did not unveil costings.

Announcing the bursary on Monday, The Nationals’ MP Terry Redman said relocating Boyanup was the “final piece” in the State’s sale yard strategy.

The Nationals’ Collie-Preston candidate Monique Warnock said it was a confidence boost for the livestock industry.

“This facility will be key to unlocking the growth of WA's beef supply chain and will deliver significant flow on benefits to South West communities,” she said.

WAFarmers president Tony York said “little money” had been directed into capital infrastructure for industry during the past 20 years. His group has labelled building a “state-of-the-art livestock precinct” to replace Boyanup as one of six election priorities.

“The majority of saleyards struggle to meet satisfactory operating conditions,” he said.

“It leaves them exposed to animal welfare, occupational health and safety, and public liability issues.

“Ageing infrastructure and outdated design also inhibit sale yards’ ability to adopt modern technology, and restrict the capacity to offer value-adding services to clients.”

The Shire of Capel has been pushing the State Government to investigate the existing saleyards’ relocation since 2002.

It has suggested a 300ha site at Gwindinup, about 6km south of Boyanup, to replace the yards.

Mr York said his group would lobby for the Gwindinup site development.

“(It) would operate as an all-inclusive centre, where livestock agents and businesses could operate in an open, transparent and competitive manner,” he said.

A six-month feasibility study to determine what a new site might need will be completed by WAMIA and Department of Agriculture and Food after the election.

Capel Shire Council plans to redevelop Boyanup saleyards into housing.

But Bridgetown beef producer Mike Introvigne said the industry “deserved better” than just election promises.

“I was part of the Red Meat Action Group a few years ago and we had a whole plan developed and took it to government and no one was interested,” he said.

“Now everyone is making promises … the industry deserves better than this.

“Hopefully it does go ahead because the State without Boyanup or a replacement is not good enough.”

Serpentine cattle buyer and seller Kevin Armstrong agreed the issue deserved bipartisan support.

“Before any decisions are made on the new location and the design, industry should be consulted,” he said.

“We can only hope there is more thought into the project then what was put into the Muchea Saleyard.

“I would also recommend the new yards be built at the Kemerton site as it has access to both highways.”

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