29 April, 2024

Farmers concerned about Dubbo saleyards future

Farmers could be facing another hit to their hip pocket if the sale or lease of the Dubbo Regional Livestock Markets proceeds.

By Supplied

Farmers concerned about Dubbo saleyards future - feature photo

Farmers could be facing another hit to their hip pocket if the sale or lease of the Dubbo Regional Livestock Markets proceeds. Dubbo stock and station agent Paul Dakin, AWN Lord, is concerned that producers in the region could be stung with fee increases of up to 100 per cent or more if the facility is privatised.

“The sale or lease of the facility will only end in heartburn due to increased costs to cover the next layer of ownership or management,” Mr Dakin said.

Mr Dakin said the Dubbo Regional Livestock Market (DRLM) is a premier livestock marketing facility that was given to the Dubbo council unencumbered by the Talbragar shire, and now generates a large economic benefit to the local community and ratepayers of the Dubbo region.

He said the substantial capital on the Council balance sheet of this facility, along with the ongoing economic benefits brought the motives of such a review into question.

In the facility’s first year of operation more than 60 years ago, it handled more than 9300 cattle and 145,800 sheep. The most recent figures show throughput of more than 1.1 million sheep and 156,000 cattle which ranks this facility as third in NSW for sheep throughput, first in NSW and third in Australia for cattle throughput across all saleyards.

“The privatisation of similar selling facilities in NSW had proven to cost stakeholders more to operate with the same outcomes,” Mr Dakin said.

Producers in the Central West region are being encouraged to approach council and their elected representatives with their concerns as soon as possible, if this process is to be given the proper consideration to achieve the right outcome for ratepayers and stakeholders.

“If this facility is not already sold, producers must be aware that fees may increase by double, as has happened in other centres who faced the same shift to privatisation as we are,” he said.

Narromine producer Stuart Boland, who sells in excess of 1000 cattle each year at this facility, is alarmed and disappointed at the lack of engagement with stakeholders from the Dubbo Regional Council.

“This is a decision which could affect the bottom line of producers like myself,” he said.

“Other centres in NSW have experienced the same shift to private management and their fees increased quite substantially.

“This is my local area but it could become unviable to sell stock at Dubbo in future.”

Dubbo Regional Council’s chief executive officer Murray Wood was recently quoted as saying the ongoing costs of the facility and maintenance had reached $5.15 million but didn’t allude to whether it was running at a profit or loss.

Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson said council was yet to make a final decision on the future of the yards.

“The only decision undertaken by councillors is that we must ensure all our different business units are run as efficiently as possible,” he said.


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