Future for cash cows

THE future of the Wangaratta Saleyards still rests with Rural City of Wangaratta Council administrators, although they weren’t talking this week.

Provisions have been made in the rural city’s 2013-14 and next year’s budgets for a $1.7m loan to pay for a $3.5m upgrade to the facility that generates up to $50m turnover per annum.

But no one is yet the wiser as to how it will be paid back, with fee increases, government grants or even rate increases noted as possible options.

Council chief administrator Ailsa Fox last week asserted that vendor yarding fees could rise to $18 per head to help meet loan repayments, and posed the question to Wangaratta exchange users whether they would still use the facility if fees were this high.

But she has been silent this week, with no media comment, while her suggestions were met with dismay by producers at yesterday’s sale, strongly calling for stock fees to stay at current levels of between $8.80 to $13 per head.

The figure is also in stark contrast to what producers are paying at saleyards across Victoria.

Council is waiting until a design plan and costing has been completed and only then can it work out the viability of a facility upgrade and a more realistic fee increase if at all required.

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