Private operators who’d like to lease or buy the Coolabunia Saleyards will soon have the opportunity to submit proposals to the South Burnett Regional Council

June 15, 2017

The South Burnett Regional Council will call for expressions of interest (EOIs) to lease or buy the Coolabunia Saleyards and its associated cattle dip facilities.

At Wednesday’s Council meeting, Councillors were told several people had expressed an interest in taking over the operation of the saleyards.

Calling for expressions of interest would be a good way to assess the market, and if suitable responses were received the next step would be to call for tenders.

EOIs are expected to be called in a few weeks.

If the matter proceeds to tenders, the process of selecting a new operator could take a few months.

Mayor Keith Campbell told the saleyards currently cost the Council about $100,000 a year to operate.

Most of that cost was in administration, with facility maintenance making up the balance.

The Mayor said while he was determined to see the saleyards and cattle dip remain in operation for the benefit of cattle producers, running them was not core Council business.

So if a private operator wanted to lease or purchase the saleyards, he was open to the idea.

Fellow Councillors agreed, and passed the motion to call for EOIs unanimously.

Later in the same meeting, Councillors voted to freeze charges for the saleyards’ services at current levels.

Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff said a proposed fee rise set down for July 1 could have a negative effect because if a new operator was appointed, they would probably set their own charges.

Cr Ros Heit agreed, saying she thought it might be better not to alter the current charges until a new operator took over – if one was found – to avoid confusing customers.

The motion to freeze saleyards charges at 2016-17 levels was carried 6-1, with Cr Fleischfresser dissenting.

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