Agents have not taken up offer of a meeting to negotiate next step, council says

Susanna Freymark

As the dispute over the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange dragged into this, its eleventh week, agents claimed council cancelled a key meeting.

However, Richmond Valley Council says it is waiting on agents to respond to the offer for them to meet with the mayor that was made several days ago.

In a statement yesterday from the Casino Auctioneers Association, its president Andrew Summerville said agents expected to meet with council to discuss options to reopen the NRLX but the meeting was cancelled.

Council’s general manager Vaughan Macdonald said that Mr Summerville’s claim that Mr Macdonald cancelled a meeting with the mayor is incorrect.

“On September 7, I met with the president and vice president of the CAAI,” Mr Macdonald said.

“My assessment of that meeting was that they continue to have little to no willingness to move to the new post-sale livestock management arrangements or accept the 0.2% Agent Business Usage Fee.

“Given that position, in my email to Mr Summerville of September 11, I questioned the value of a meeting with the mayor, but also offered to set up a meeting to work out a solution if that was not the case.

“I had received no reply or response to my offer from the CAAI at the time of IndyNR’s inquiry advising of the CAAI statement.”

Mr Macdonald said the CAAI statement was confusing.

“On the one hand their statement says they are ‘non-negotiable’, and then they say, ‘all options are on the table’,” he said.

“I’m sure many in our community will understand council’s confusion and frustration.”

The dispute between agents and council drags on with agents continuing to sell cattle at the Lismore saleyards.

There have been statements from agents and several from the council. On September 4 there was a public meeting about the dispute.

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