Buyers have their say at Roma Saleyards
ROMA cattle sellers and agents have been given the chance to voice their thoughts to council about the future of the saleyards.
Maranoa councillors, including Mayor Tyson Golder, Cr Peter Flynn and Cr Robyn Bryant, were on hand to consult with the community at a forum on Tuesday morning on the recently introduced post-sale handling fee.
The new fee, brought in on July 1, means buyers are charged $1.40 plus GST per head to deliver cattle from the stalls to the loading ramp.
Cr Peter Flynn, Chairman of the Saleyards Advisory Committee, said the community consultation came in response to concerns raised by key stakeholders.
"We have become aware since the introduction of a post-sale handling fee that there has been some backlash from agents and buyers,” Cr Flynn said.
"It was pretty obvious that we needed to come to the saleyards to consult with some of those representatives and take back to council at one of our budget reviews as to the validity of the particular fee.”
Cattle buyer Murray Douglas said he welcomed the opportunity to discuss the fee with council but said it was "too little too late”.
"Basically we just wanted to get our point of view across because there was no consultation before this fee was brought in,” Mr Douglas said.
"This should have been done in May and not November.”
Mr Douglas said he was concerned council hadn't communicated what the new fee would go towards.
He said council should look at cutting costs and increasing efficiencies at the saleyards, rather than adding fees.
"Council generally had no idea about the costs. They didn't know where money was being spent,” Mr Douglas said.
"They haven't looked at the costs yet and they should have done that well and truly before they just stuck a fee on.”
Cr Flynn agreed the consultation could have been handled better.
"We admit there were problems with the consultation, but I suppose the problem we faced is if it wasn't introduced on the 1st of July 2016, it would then not have been able to be put in our budget until 2017,” Cr Flynn said.
Cr Flynn said the consultation was productive and brought concerns about the post-sale handling fee, as well as inefficiencies at the saleyards to council's attention. He said the concerns would be taken into consideration at council's next budget review.
Mr Douglas urged council to look at the bigger picture for the saleyards.
"If you offend the buyer and end up with some cheap sales here it just diminishes the whole thing,” he said.
"People start going past and you go from being the biggest saleyards in Australia to just another one, just through that lack of consultation and planning.”