REGIONAL Livestock Exchange (RLX) has reiterated sales at its network of sites across Eastern Australia are scheduled to continue following concerning reports that misinformation about the function of saleyards during the COVID-19 pandemic is being circulated to industry, media and the general public.
AAM Investment Group (AAM) Managing Director, Garry Edwards, said it had been brought to his attention such inaccurate information had potential to significantly disrupt the livestock sector at this time when the supply of high-quality food to Australian families had never been more important.
It is understood the misinformation relates to recent campaigns by anti-animal farming activists seeking to disrupt saleyard operations.
“We have prioritised public health and very effectively implemented an extensive suite of safety processes and procedures in accordance with government rules and official health advice, and these strategies have been working exceptionally well across RLX sites,” Mr Edwards said.
“However, we are now receiving disturbing reports of the circulation of myths and misinformation that has potential to cause needless disruption to saleyard operations, something that is clearly not helpful at this time.
“The wellbeing of people is our first and foremost consideration, and we’re working hard to both keep our people safe and to avoid supply bottlenecks.”
Key procedural measures implemented by the saleyards industry last week in addition to earlier protocols to protect public safety included:
- Limiting attendance at sales to essential saleyard site staff, accredited livestock agents and essential agency staff along with genuine buyers with a true intention to purchase.
- All other individuals who are not essential to the sales process being directed to not attend sale facilities. Livestock transporters are able to access saleyard facilities for unloading and loading of livestock.
- The putting in place of on-ground systems and protocols to manage attendance in line with the above position. For RLX, this has included mandatory electronic sign in, buyer identification and verification, and the extension of the online bidding platform, Stocklive.
“We are acutely aware of our responsibility to both ensure the safety of our community and the important role we play in feeding Australians,” Mr Edwards said.
“Make no mistake, implementing the required measures to achieve this is our highest priority and must occur across all of industry.
“If anyone has any concerns or questions as to what our procedures are or if our sales are proceeding, we urge them to contact us directly so that accurate and timely information can be provided rather than hearsay.
“We’re here to work closely with and support the livestock industry, and the broader public, at this important time.”
Great opportunity to get the on line bidding platform fully operational in both prime & store markets which of course would require pre sale weighing and allow buyers to purchase from their office.
The arrangements fly in the face off the ACCC.
Section 45 of the Competition and Consumer Act prohibits contracts, arrangements, understandings or concerted practices that have the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in a market, even if that conduct does not meet the stricter definitions of other anti-competitive conduct such as cartels.
Obviously such arrangements are subject to challenge.