DIVISIONS within the regional livestock industry are open to the proposal of building a regional saleyards at Mortlake.
While the Warrnamabool Stock Agents Association says it wants to keep operating from the Warrnambool saleyards, the proponent for the regional saleyards said livestock agents from outside Warrnambool increases potential for other projects.
The saleyards could include significant cattle numbers from the Ballarat area.
Brendan Abbey, from the proposed Western Victoria Livestock Exchange, said agents from small south-west saleyards approached him to set up a regional livestock exchange to ensure greater competition for stock is offered on behalf of clients.
Mr Abbey said he gained “99 per cent” support for his proposal from stock agents across the south-west at a meeting at Mortlake last week.
He said agents at the meeting included representatives from Ballarat.
He said the catchment area for the regional saleyards would extend from Geelong to Hamilton and include cattle from south-west of Ballarat, with sixty per cent of current cattle to Ballarat from the Moyne, Corangamite and Colac shires.
He said a 77-hectare (190 acres) site at the corner of the Hamilton Highway and Connewarren Lane in Mortlake has been purchased for the saleyards.
Ballarat Stock and Station Agents Association president James Haddrick said the site would be unlikely to draw significant interest from the Ballarat market.
“I can understand where the concept is coming from. In saying that, Ballarat’s built up a reputation of one of the premier selling markets and that won’t be eroded overnight.”
Andrew Gunn from Kerr and Co Livestock in Hamilton said the Mortlake saleyards was a superb proposal, but said it could lead to the likely closure of yards in Colac, Camperdown, Warrnambool and Ballarat.
“It will, but at the end of the day, that’s life – it’s for the betterment of the industry,” he said.
“Anyone, in my opinion, who doesn’t support the Mortlake proposal, has their heads in the sand,” Mr Gunn said
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