Saleyards: we have to get the difficult issues right

This week, I’ll be at the national saleyards conference for a couple of days. It’ll be an opportunity to talk with the managers of the nation’s saleyards about some tricky issues that we all need to get right.

Animal welfare will be on our list. Ensuring that animals coming in and out of saleyards are all fit to load and have appropriate access to water is something that’s going to receive a lot more scrutiny as the new national animal welfare laws kick in. What happens in saleyards is very visible to the community, so we really need to work together to get this right.

Chain of responsibility and driver fatigue management will also be a key topic. State regulators and Police have been looking at COR issues at a number of yards around the country. Noone in the Bush knows these laws better than the ALRTA, so we’ll offering some tips on reducing delays and helping to keep everyone on the right side of the law.

And the big one: ramps. Safety in saleyards is moving to be front and centre. The OHS regulators are out and about in NSW and Victoria at the moment, taking a close look at safety standards in the yards. That’s part of an increased focus by all OHS regulators on the safety issues in farming and rural industries. This issue isn’t going to go away, and we must all face up to it. We owe it to the men and women we work with – whether they be drivers, stockhands or agents – and we owe it to our partners and children waiting at home.

John Beer

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