The Opposition has today welcomed the news that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has cleared the way for the current lease on the Boyanup Saleyards to be extended.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Colin de Grussa and Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas together called on the Labor Government to deliver both a short-term solution by facilitating a ten-year extension, and a long-term solution by rebuilding the saleyards in the same region but out of town.
“The ACCC has reportedly removed any competition barrier to the lease extension, and we hope that the Shire of Capel will now move rapidly to get that extension in place,” Mr de Grussa said.
“With the current lease expiring in less than one year, the State Government has no time left to put any real alternative in place and an extension of the current facility is vital to support the cattle industries of the South West.
“The Government’s own report told them that this is a critical piece of infrastructure for agriculture in this State, so the only short-term solution is to get the lease extension done.”
Dr Thomas said the extension would allow adequate time for a genuine long-term solution to be delivered, and the only way forward was to rebuild the yards in a different but suitable location in the same region.
“The State Government needs to work with industry in developing a best practice, truly multi-user facility that serves the needs of the whole sector,” Dr Thomas said.
“Alannah MacTiernan has been seeking to short-change the South West cattle industry by refusing to build new yards to replace the Boyanup site, and her excuse that all cattle sales will be online in a decade is laughable.
“I have been hearing about online sales taking over for decades, and the small uptake to date makes the Agriculture Minister’s position a dud excuse not to invest.
“We took a rebuild commitment to the last election, and it is well and truly past time for the Government to match it.
“With $15 billion in budget surpluses predicted over five years, there was no excuse not to invest in South West agriculture and deliver this vital facility.”
The Opposition has also suggested new South West saleyards should be opened in the region not too far from the current site, as the hopefully extended lease expires in Boyanup in 2032.