Case-by-case basis for Victorian saleyards

Cautious approach to Victorian saleyards reopening to all

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Coronavirus
RESTRICTIONS EASED: Victorian saleyards will make their own decisions, on how they operate, as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

RESTRICTIONS EASED: Victorian saleyards will make their own decisions, on how they operate, as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

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Individual Victorian saleyards will have the call on who can attend.

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Many Victorian saleyards are opting to keep strict attendance restrictions in place, despite rules being eased in other states.

Australian Livestock Saleyards Association president Councillor Stuart McLean said there was confusion over claims relaxed coronavirus restrictions meant vendors would be allowed into saleyards.

"It's up to the individual states to determine what the regulations are and what the restrictions are," Cr McLean said.

At least two Victorian saleyard, WVLX, Mortlake, and Bendigo will continue to exclude vendors, until further notice.

In Bendigo, only 15 pregistered store buyers will be allowed in the yard for Monday's sale, on a 'first-come, first served' basis.

WVLX management, which runs Mortlake, has decided to keep restrictions in place.

"There will be no vendor or general public access until restrictions are further lifted again," a spokeswoman said.

"There will be no vendor or general public access until restrictions are further lifted again,' a spokeswoman said.

"We feel that our saleyard can't occupy 100 buyers, agents and essential staff, plus vendors and the general public, while maintaining a 1.5metre social distance," the spokeswoman said.

"We intend to keep all our vendors and the general public notified when we decide to lift our restrictions."

Australian Livestock Markets Association president Ken Timms said the organisation was pleased relaxed restrictions would see more people being able to come back to sales.

"Prospective buyers have never been denied the ability to purchase livestock from saleyards," Mr Timms said.

"They can continue to compete through an accredited buyer, free of charge through their preferred agent or directly themselves either at the facility or via an on-line arrangement concurrent with live auctions."

Read more:

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Vendors were previously prohibited from attending livestock sales as part of a suite of restrictions recommended in the COVID-19 National Saleyards Protocols.

The changes were necessary to ensure the safety of essential saleyard workers as well as the continuity of selling and the wider food supply chain.

They were agreed to by saleyard operators, agents, buyers, processors and producers in consultation with the federal government.

But Cr McLean said it would be up to individual saleyards in Victoria to decide who could attend sales.

"From our perspective, each of the yards has its own plan as to how they want to operate."

He said there had been some relaxation for store buyers to attend sales.

"We have left it entirely to the individual yards to make the decision that suits them - each yard has a different layout, and they have to manage social distancing.

"We have had a clean bill of health, and we aim to keep a clean bill of health."

Cr McLean said he was confident each of the ALSA yards had a good knowledge of their customers and could communicate with them, quite easily.

At Bendigo, store buyers were able to go and look at the cattle, before the sale began, then place orders with their agents.

"We are seeing practices change, and I think we will continue to see practices change," he said.

"They have been happening for a long while, but this has sped up some of that change."

He said ALSA members were discussing a set of protocols, to put in place, should another pandemic, or epidemic, hit the sector.

Meanwhile, the operators of Regional Livestock Exchange saleyards have announced an easing of restrictions, on who can attend sales.

RLX has Victorian saleyards at Ballarat, Camperdown and Barnawartha.

RLX facilities, run by the AAM Investment Group, will now allow a wider range of people into the physical selling facilities, during a sale.

They include buyers, MLA market reporters, the media, vendors with livestock in the yarding and relevant auditors.

"The wellbeing of those essential staff and participants onsite has been our constant and foremost consideration," AAM chief executive Tim Gallagher said.

"We're working to keep our people safe while ensuring both the operational continuity of livestock sales and that we are meeting our responsibilities to uphold public health as Australia begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is still a requirement for all those in attendance to the site to sign in at the administration office, and we are continuing to restrict access for members of the general public who are not directly linked to the sale".

He said RLX had continued to work with industry groups to ensure that public health and safety is maintained alongside delivering market access.

"It is an absolute requirement of all those attending RLX facilities to maintain adequate social distancing, uphold hygiene standards, practice respiratory hygiene and do not come to site if you are feeling unwell".

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The story Case-by-case basis for Victorian saleyards first appeared on Stock & Land.

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