Scrap Casino Saleyards upgrade, councillors told

THE future of the Casino saleyards will be discussed at Richmond Valley Council's strategic finance committee meeting this afternoon.

A planned $8 million upgrade to the saleyards has been under threat since late last year, when the new Federal Government said it could not guarantee its $3.5 million contribution.

That funding had been pledged by former Page MP Janelle Saffin.

The council's general manager, John Walker, said the Casino saleyards were "an important part of our local economy".

"But the bottom line is Council cannot afford to upgrade the facilities alone; government funding is essential," he said.

The recommendation that will go before councillors this afternoon is to not proceed with the upgrade of the saleyards "at this time".

Mr Walker said the issue was exacerbated by current trading conditions, the absence of any upward trends, as well as the reluctance of agents to fund the loan monies through increased fees.

"The Council is concerned with the need to maintain appropriate welfare standards for animals and wants to ensure safety for those visiting and handling the animals is paramount," he said.

The report to the strategic finance committee reveals that throughput for the saleyards as at December 31 last year was down considerably.

Grown cattle was down 14% and bobby calves were down 88% compared to the same period in 2012/13.

Income for that period was $282,909, just 30% of the budgeted income for the year, with current projections indicating a shortfall of $225,000 for the full year.

Topics:  casino saleyards federal government janelle saffin richmond valley council