Singleton Council is investigating either the sale or lease of its regional livestock selling centre.
Privately operated saleyards already exist at nearby Maitland and at other facilities throughout the state but many local cattle producers and their agents will no doubt question this move by Council after the selling centre received a major injection of funds from the State Government.
In statement released today Singleton Council calls for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the possible lease or sale of the facility.
Interested parties will have to act quickly as the EOI opens next week and closes only three weeks later.
Even the timing of this announcement and the small window for EOI raises questions about the entire process.
With a significant $7.76 million upgrade to the saleyards currently nearing completion, Council is reviewing options for the management and operation of the site including potential interest from private operators.
Council will also develop a business plan based on the Council’s continued operation of the saleyards in parallel with the Expressions of Interest to allow a comparative analysis.
Anthony Egan, Council’s Director Corporate and Community, said the Singleton Regional Livestock Market was an intrinsic part of the local economy and Council was interested in exploring options to reach its maximum potential.
“Singleton Council recognises the importance of the Singleton Regional Livestock Market to the diversity and strength of the local economy, as well as the strong historical significance of the site,” he said.
“The Expressions of Interest process will allow us to gauge the interest from specialists in livestock markets to lease or buy the site to continue to operate markets in Singleton.
“It will also provide an understanding of the characteristics of the potential market for the saleyards business, and the ability of potential operators to run the saleyards as a viable business in line with Council’s requirements.”
The Expressions of Interest process will run from Tuesday, November 21 to Tuesday December 12.
Mr Egan said Council would make a final decision on the future of the saleyards based on the outcomes of the Expressions of Interest.
“If a lease or sale goes ahead, it is a requirement that the Singleton Regional Livestock Market continues to be operated as an ongoing, viable commercial concern in Singleton in order that the regional economy continues to accrue the significant economic benefits arising from the business,” he said.