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    Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange.

Land secured for Wimmera livestock exchange expansion

By Abby Walter

Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange leaders say retaining land next to the exchange will safeguard its future.  

Horsham Rural City Council, at its latest meeting last week, ensured a 10-hectare parcel of land called Herd’s Paddock, would remain part of the exchange site.

The paddock is currently used for agistment of stock and will be used to accommodate B-double trucks and road trains accessing the loading ramps. 

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The resolution comes more than a year after the council had proposed to explore selling the land and four other sites as part of the Burnt Creek Industrial Estate. 

The exchange’s board had expressed concern this proposal, in April 2021, would restrict and limit future expansion and use of the site. Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange board chair David Grimble said it was a logical and ‘very good’ outcome to have the paddock secured for the exchange.

“The paddock works two-fold as it is a significant income generator when used for agistment and also provides the opportunity for buyers to keep stock at the property before being transported,” he said.

“It is part of our reputation that we provide a facility of the highest standard possible.

“It also gives the exchange capacity to expand to the south, especially as we need provision for larger trucks.”

Mr Grimble said the board had also raised the concept of creating a southern access road from the roundabout that would take trucks out to Mackies and Laharum roads.

“It would provide a second access point and take some transport off the Western Highway, which would be quite advantageous,” he said.

Mr Grimble said the board had identified the paddock was important to operations at the exchange.

An economic impact assessment on the livestock exchange by Wimmera Development Association and Street Ryan revealed the exchange transacts 400,000 heads at an estimated sales value of $70 million.

The total estimated annual economic impact of the saleyards to the Horsham region was calculated at $6.799 million in 2020-21 and $7.787 million in 2018-19.

Space to grow

Mr Grimble said when the saleyards moved to the Burnt Creek estate it was to allow the exchange space to grow and expand as needed, without being impeded by alternate developments.

“The board is very protective of having a large enough footprint to continue operations,” he said.

“The last thing we want at the exchange is an industrial neighbour who would be counterproductive for operations. 

“We would want industrial developments that are well-suited and complement what is done at the exchange now.

“We need to see some planning controls, and in the short-term development guidelines for what the land will be used for to protect the operations of the exchange.”

The livestock exchange is an enterprise owned by the council and Herd’s Paddock had been part of the land owned by council since 1999. 

Mr Grimble said the income from operations and the agistment covered the costs of the livestock exchange, which incurred a lowest possible cost for farmers and in turn the council. 

The council estimated that without agistment paddocks available at the exchange the total economic impact would be more than a $1-million loss.

Councillor Di Bell said she visited the exchange and could see how Herd’s Paddock would be necessary to extend loading docks to accommodate B-doubles and road trains.

“Herd’s Paddock is key to the ongoing income that was received from agistment, which provides a variation in pick-up times so stock can be looked after until processes enable it to be picked up,” she said.

Cr Penny Flynn said use of the paddock for something other than agistment or expansion could pose a risk to ongoing operations.

“The flexibility offered with the agistment paddocks supports and attracts stronger buyer competition and this helps our livestock exchange to be economically sustainable,” she said.

The entire August 3, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!