FARMERS are concerned the Wangaratta Council has taken a further step towards selling or leasing the city’s saleyards after they were inspected this week by the company building the $20 million saleyards at Barnawartha North.
Regional Infrastructure said it was responding to the council’s expression of interest process with its investigation of the Wangaratta yards.
Following an inspection on Thursday, Regional Infrastructure general manager Andrew McCarron would not confirm whether the company had plans to buy the yards.
“I happened to be in the area this week and took the opportunity to undertake an inspection,” he said.
“At the moment we are just gathering information to review whether it is something we would be willing to pursue.”
Wangaratta District Livestock Producers Group secretary Greg Mirabella said if the saleyards were sold to a private owner, Wangaratta would lose its competitive advantage because the cost of selling cattle would increase.
Wangaratta Council would not confirm Regional Infrastructure’s involvement in the expressions of interest process.
The council said it was not in a position to say whether there were definite plans to sell or lease the saleyards.
Chief administrator Ailsa Fox said the council recognised the economic and social importance of the Wangaratta saleyards to the community and to the region’s economy.
The saleyards are not a highly profitable business.