RVC offers new deal to end saleyards impasse

A special meeting this afternoon saw Richmond Valley Council resolve to end the impasse over an increase in fees and charges at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX). 

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said to enable the return of cattle sales to the NRLX, Council had reconsidered the feedback received from agents, vendors and the wider community. Mr Macdonald said it was critically important Council and all NRLX users worked together to ensure the saleyards remained the number one cattle selling centre on the North Coast. He said it was vital a decision on the issue was made sooner rather than later. He said amendments to the Revenue Policy, which were a significant concession provided by Council, would hopefully see sales return to the NRLX in the very near future.

“The amendments provide a 50 percent discount on the $1.50 increase to vendors for the period of the Stage 1 construction, which is the selling side of the facility and scheduled to be completed early next year,” Mr Macdonald said.

“A 50 percent reduction in the agents’ business usage fee will also reduce the impact on the agents’ business operations and hopefully get them back selling at the NRLX.”

Council this afternoon adopted the following amendments to Council’s Revenue Policy 2017-2018 for the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange:

Effective from 1 July 2017

  • vendor usage fee is $9.90/head
  • vendor capital levy is $1.85/head
  • Total vendor fees $11.75/head

Effective from 1 March 2018

  • vendor usage fee is $10.50/head
  • vendor capital levy is $2.00/head
  • Total vendor fees $12.50/head

Effective from 1 July 2017

  • Agents’ business usage fee is $0.50/head until the completion of an operational review of the NRLX by 30 June 2018.

Mr Macdonald said saleyards were being modernised across the country with private investors recognising the value of a high-performing operation.

He said Council must capitalise on this for the benefit of the Richmond Valley community, especially since it had been successful in obtaining more than $10.5 million in grant funding from the Federal and NSW governments to fully upgrade the facility to a modern roofed-and-soft-floor livestock selling centre.

He said to achieve this Council must borrow $3.5 million as its contribution to the upgrade of the facility.

“Council decided to increase the fees to vendors and agents following an assessment of revenues received from the users of the facility, and believes its Revenue Policy is in the best interests of the whole community,” Mr Macdonald said.

Mr Macdonald will be writing to the agents, and informing all stakeholders, that they should expect a refund of $0.75/head for any cattle sold at the NRLX since 1 July 2017.

He said these changes would see a decline in the overall financial performance of the facility, which would need to be closely monitored, and other efficiency opportunities explored.

Both Council and the Casino Auctioneers Association acknowledge an operational review would be beneficial given the significant changes to the NRLX with the upgrade.

To achieve this, a full operational review is proposed, with oversight by a recognised independent saleyards industry expert, as well as the NRLX Saleyards Advisory Group, which includes two agent representatives.

A draft report will be prepared and released for community consultation. The review will be completed by 30 June 2018.

Council would like to see sales re-commence next week. For this to happen, it’s now up to the Casino agents to accept the amended fees and sign their selling permits.