By Jeremy Sollars
The Southern Downs Regional Council has announced it will hold a public meeting to discuss the future management of the Warwick Saleyards on Wednesday 6 June.
The meeting will be held at the Warwick Town Hall starting at 5.30pm on the day and will be attended by Mayor Tracy Dobie, councillors and council officers.
Local livestock producers continue to speculate on a potential plan by the council to lease out the Saleyards to a private operator, understood to be RLX Regional Livestock Exchanges, which operates saleyards in Queensland and New South Wales, including Gracemere, Inverell and Tamworth.
The public meeting on Wednesday 6 June will follow a meeting of the council’s Saleyards Advisory Committee next Thursday 31 May.
That meeting is expected to consider a report from council staff on the leasing tender understood to have been submitted by RLX, and a recommendation to councillors on the leasing option is likely to be made by the committee.
The majority of the minutes of the Advisory Committee’s meetings have been kept confidential, despite attempts by the Free Times to have them released, including under Right To Information (RTI).
At a meeting with council officers last December local livestock agents were provided with an indicative schedule of RLX fees, which are significantly higher than those currently charged by the council – to the tune of up to 50 per cent in some instances.
But also of concern to local agents is the affiliation fee RLX could charge, listed in their schedule as an “agent turnover fee” – meaning agents’ businesses would be charged the equivalent of 15 per cent of their total annual turnover every year.
The council has said all along it will be guided by the views of the Saleyards Advisory Committee on the leasing plan and that the Warwick Saleyards are not for sale.