Ill-advised councillors need to take blinkers off

Sir, – Our voted representatives are at it again, making decision on a subject they know nothing about, and without proper consultation with those in the industry.

Glenn McGrath from Snowy Valleys Council presented a report to our last Saleyards Committee meeting, that was completely unnecessary and consultation with our committee in the first instance would have been more appropriate to deal with the issues at the yards. He even admitted that he didn’t fully understand the situation at the Tumut yards or nearby selling centres.

I am disgusted to read Cr. Wright’s comments ‘They’ve been ripping us off for years’. I ask you Cr Wright: how many times have you frequented the yards, spoken to a livestock agent or rural ratepayer regarding the yards? What gives you the right to make such a defamatory statement and question the character of those involved? I would like to know where Cr Wright gets his information from to make such outlandish comments.

I have been involved in the rural industry for over 30 years and been a representative on the Saleyards Committee for the majority of that time. Figures quoted in the article “Saleyards under lock and key” in the Tumut & Adelong Times, October 12, are completely out of context.

Council spends $28,500 on maintenance at the site is blatantly wrong – last financial year expenditure was $15,600 with an income of $12,980 (refer publicly available Saleyards Committee Meeting minutes), giving a shortfall of $2,620.

This is one of the isolated cases where these self-funded yards didn’t cover the costs – not too bad when you consider our biggest expense at the saleyards were the Snowy Valleys Council rates of $6,625.

Yes Councillors – you have charged us full tote for our existence, which you profit from – no free rides or providing for the rural community’s needs.

To suggest the facility is aging could also be applied to many a building or structure within the shire. Tumut’s all-steel yards require only minor maintenance and given the usage, will well and truly serve the rural ratepayers for years to come.

The current issue at the yards is from a minority trucking cattle from the facility, without self-reporting / paying the appropriate fee per head. As stated, this is from a minority and doesn’t involve large sums of money, but needs monitoring.

At our last Saleyards Committee meeting, we discussed Mr McGrath’s report and cited it was a complete overkill and offered a simple, cost-effective alternative to monitor the yards usage and throughput.

Mayor James Hayes, Deputy Mayor John Larter with fellow Saleyard Committee members were present and it was discussed at length, with us agreeing that we use a common sense approach. Yes, a common sense approach that has negligible cost but now some of our elected councillors have voted on an impractical method that will increase costs unnecessarily.

Again, I direct to Cr Wright and others – you have backed a report that didn’t have all the facts and information tabled; to suggest the Adelong yards are in competition to Tumut is false, for when numbers allow, they in fact complement each other and allow appropriate yarding densities for animal health and welfare.

We constantly read of promoting our community; why can’t we see a positive in retaining our saleyards and providing for the rural community? Surely supporting the rural sector only increases the industry diversity of our shire, supporting our economy in addition to timber and tourism.

Whilst we have had to defer to regional centres for our fortnightly sale, our annual store sales are iconic with our local beef producers. This year was the 50th anniversary of the autumn sale – a great milestone for any selling centre, and one that drew record numbers of buyers to town.

Councillors, take the blinkers off – not everything starts with a ‘T’, tourism and timber. Please consider all of the facts before making decisions and statements. Consider the rural ratepayers and their contribution to our fine community.

Yours etc,

-Rob Stubbs,

Branch Manager Elders Tumut/Adelong


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