AUSTRALIA – The Victorian Farmers Federation’s (VFF) Livestock Group has been disappointed once again by the Ballarat City Council’s management of the Ballarat Livestock Selling Centre.
VFF Livestock Group President Chris Nixon said the decision to approve a law change that would remove control of the saleyards from the Council and instead give it to a private operator was fraught with danger for local livestock farmers.
“It appears that the Ballarat City Council has washed its hands of any responsibility over the management of the Ballarat Livestock Selling Centre, a publicly owned asset,” Mr Nixon said.
“Last night the Council approved a local law change that effectively removes the ability for either the Council or the users of the yards to have any meaningful input into the operation of the saleyards.
“The VFF Livestock Group made a submission to the Council opposing the changes as we believe they will deliver no benefit to the users of the yards or the Council. We are concerned that handing over full control of all fee setting functions to the facility operators with no checks and balances will result in increased yard fees to farmers.
“The value of the Ballarat Livestock Selling Centre relies on the good will and patronage of the yard users. The proposed amendments will only damage these relationships and has the potential to reduce the facilities’ worth overall.
“This further adds to our concerns over the future of livestock selling in Ballarat. The Council has made numerous promises to provide information about the new selling centre however we have not received any concrete information on either the location or starting date of the new facility.
“Given the importance of the livestock sector to the Ballarat economy I am calling on the Council to be more open and transparent with users of the Ballarat Livestock Selling Centre,” concluded Mr Nixon.
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