LIVESTOCK producers in the Central West have their saleyard up and running again following the announcement late yesterday that the council-run Dubbo facility has been given NSW Health approval to reinstate regular lamb and cattle sales next week.
The Dubbo saleyard was temporarily closed last week following three people who were at the site testing positive to COVID-19.
In taking the decision last week, Dubbo Regional Council said the move came after consultation between Dubbo Stock and Station Agents (DSSA), key industry stakeholders and NSW Health "in order to prioritise public health and safety, and to ensure the livestock industry remains viable as an essential operation".
The shutdown was initially scheduled for two weeks, but that decision was reviewed after further discussions with various stakeholders and NSW Health.
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Dubbo Stock and Station Agents president Martin Simmons said as of this Monday, the prime lamb and sheep sale will be held on the proviso of following strict COVID safe protocols.
"We've been able to show that in the past week there's been no more new COVID infections from contact at the saleyard and that the facilities are COVID free," he said.
"Closing the saleyard for a short time was something that had to happen to ensure we were on top of the situation, however we are now looking forward to getting the markets up and running again next week."
That means the sheep and lamb sale on Monday, September 13 and prime cattle sale on Thursday, September 16 will now proceed.
"This is a busy time of year anyway as we head into spring, but with no sales this week and clients holding over stock for the next sale, we expect there to be a few bigger yardings of both sheep and cattle," he said.
But Mr Simmons said attendance at the sales would come with a few extra requirements in order to prioritise public health and safety.
Dubbo Regional Council has issued a statement indicating only pre-approved Dubbo saleyard staff, agents, DSSA staff, genuine registered pre-approved commission/company buyers and carriers (who remain with their truck and do not attend the sale) are permitted on site.
The pre-approval of attendance to sales will continue to be centrally co-ordinated by the DSSA secretary.
Mr Simmons said rapid COVID-19 testing (which was required at the special cattle last Saturday) would now not be required.
"The logistics and staffing required to carry out those rapid tests before each sale was not practical," he said.
However, he said people attending the sale would have to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of each sale.
This is known as surveillance testing, and unless attendees are showing symptoms, or are an identified close or casual contact of a case, they will not need to isolate while awaiting results.
The requirements for surveillance testing within 48 hours to any sale will be in place for a fortnight - up to and including the cattle sale on Thursday, September 23.
Mandatory check-in and fitted face masks are also a condition of entry, in line with NSW Health's Public Health Order.
Strict distancing of buyers, agents and operational staff will be enforced, including issuing of fines for non-compliance by NSW Police, Dubbo Regional Council's statement said.
Graziers who are delivering or collecting stock, but not attending the sale or interacting closely with sale attendees, do not need to show a negative test at the gate.
The café will only be for takeaway, with mandatory COVID check-in.
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