Advert upsets Wangaratta saleyard group

Greg Mirabella
Greg Mirabella

THE Wangaratta District Livestock Producers Group claims to have been blindsided by the city’s administrators in calling for expressions of interest from potential buyers or lessees of the saleyards.

Sale or lease were listed among options for the saleyards in a message from administrators in a Wangaratta Council advertisement in the Wangaratta Chronicle yesterday.

The move has upset the recently-formed producers group, with secretary Greg Mirabella stating it wasn’t consulted before the advertisement was placed.

“Our group wrote to chief executive officer Brendan McGrath and administrators on June 12, specifically asking, among other things, that the administrators not proceed with any public discussion of disposal of the saleyards without consulting us,” Mr Mirabella said.

“This letter also requested a written response by June 19, which has not been received.

“Therefore we conclude the administrators are not acting in good faith.”

Administrator Irene Grant said the producers group had been updated on the council’s next move.

“My understanding is the chief executive spoke with a member of the saleyards committee on Thursday and my understanding is it was a frank and open discussion,” she said.

“I can’t understand why they’d be of that view.

“We are keen to keep the saleyards going, but we just need to be certain of (the) potential options.”

Mr Mirabella said calling for expressions of interest for the saleyards was an emphatic step.

“It is one that should not be made until after other options are considered,” he said.

“Administrators have refused our request for access to financial statements relating to the saleyards.

“(They) have failed to provide any evidence or analysis supporting their view that the saleyards will become unviable.”

Administrators stated they were “acutely aware” of the need to minimise the risk to future generations in servicing loans for the saleyards upgrade.

The redevelopment has been estimated at $3.4 to $4 million, but administrators claimed the true cost would not be known until the project went through a tender process.

“We are keen to keep them going, but we need to be certain what options there are,” she said.