The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries a question about the Jamestown saleyards.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Jamestown saleyards is a well established venue for a large number of sheep sales, including store sheep, through some 15 sales a year. Due to the closure of other saleyards in the region at Peterborough, Burra and Crystal Brook, the lack of other venues in the region and the volume of annual sales, they are in high demand. I understand that the minister inspected the saleyards early this year—possibly February—and made a commitment to the region that his department would provide financial assistance towards a feasibility study into the saleyards. Part of the inquiry relates to whether the site should be upgraded or relocated to a greenfields site.
The rural grapevine has been abuzz for several weeks that a decision has been made, but I understand that neither the local Regional Development Board nor the Northern Areas Council have been given formal advice. My questions are:
1. Has a decision been made regarding the feasibility study?
2. How much funding will be provided?
3. In conducting the feasibility study, will the consultant be advised to take into consideration the fact that the Jamestown yards are well utilised as the only locale in the region, and thus concentrate more greatly on the site aspects rather than questions of viability?
4. Will the study also take into consideration the fact that the saleyards at Dublin are for fat stock; in other words, a different market?
The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries): I am certainly well aware of the issue of the saleyards at Jamestown. The member is correct; I visited them early this year. I also visited them again when we had our community cabinet meeting in Jamestown, and we had the opportunity to speak to the officers from local government there. The offer made earlier this year was that Primary Industry and Resources would provide funds towards a scoping study. The sum was a $10 000 or $15 000 contribution towards that. There were also some discussions from the Department of Business, Manufacturing and Trade in relation to some assistance. I will get the exact details of that and get back to the honourable member.
As I understand it, this had been held up because there was some discussion as to the actual nature of the scoping study with the local development people and the local government who were keen to see these yards expanded. It is the view of the government that, to be effective, any scoping study obviously would have to look at the viability of those saleyards to ensure that they will be attractive to investors, ensuring that they have a future. Of course, there has been some investment in the past by South Australian governments in relation to infrastructure in the Peterborough region.
There is no doubt that, if marketing of sheep in that region has a future, Jamestown is as good as anywhere else to do that. It has the advantage of having some significant infrastructure there; for example, a sealed airport right near the site and also some wash down facilities that were provided for trucks. Of course, significant costs are associated with stockyards. Obviously, that is why, for the sake of any investors in relation to those facilities, there needs to be a viable feasibility study. It was my understanding that those matters had all been resolved when we were up in—
An honourable member interjecting:
The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: No, the study will be done separately.
The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: I am answering it. I am giving the honourable member a huge amount of detail. As I understood it, the matter was resolved at the time of the visit up there of the community cabinet, and that money was to be provided. It was my understanding that the terms of that scoping study had been agreed amicably between the Regional Development Board and PIRSA. However, where it is now in the system, I will obtain that additional information for the honourable member.
Tuesday 17 February 2004
In reply to Hon. L.M.A. LENSINK (4 December 2003).
The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY:
1. In Jamestown on 27 October 2003 the Department of Primary Industries and Resources (PIRSA) Chief Executive resolved with the Jamestown Council and the Mid North Regional Development Board that the feasibility studywould focus only on the Jamestown district, and would be carried out by appropriate government officers rather than engage private consultants.
2. PIRSA will provide resources to the level of $10,,000 and the Department of Business Manufacturing and Trade (DBMT) similar support. This excludes any contribution from the local council and the Mid North Regional Development Board who were originally going to provide similar amounts.
3. It has been agreed that the study will focus on the Jamestown district as the appropriate centre for the north of the state. However, the question of viability will still need to be addressed, as significant costs are involved in developing saleyards, and any potential investors will want to have some information on viability before proceeding with an investment plan. It is also essential that the local council is fully aware of both the benefits and the risks associated with such an investment.
4. Firstly, may I draw attention to the fact that ‘fat stock’ is a term not used in the livestock industry as it provides a false impression about the quality of the meat. The appropriate term is ‘prime stock’. The study recognises that the focus of the Jamestown saleyards is ‘store’ sheep sales, i.e. sales of stock that are being used for breeding and grow-out rather than to abattoir.
The users of the facility (sheep producers, buyers and agents) will ultimately decide its patronage and they will be consulted as to their future intentions for selling stock. The operators of the Dublin saleyard are a competitor and while the study will not consider Dublin as an alternate site, it will be necessary to report on their future intentions with respect to store stock sales.
Government officers from PIRSA and the DBMT have met, discussed the procedures and resolved that action on the study should commence early in 2004.