Stock agent Darren Perkins from George & Fuhrmann has said the agents will not sign Richmond Valley Council’s agreements to let them sell cattle through the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange.
“Council is saying they’re not backing down. We agents are not going to sign the agreements, we are not backing down and if we have to, we will send cattle to other centres – even if it takes till Christmas,” Mr Perkins said.
ABC reporter Kim Honan interviewed Mr Perkins on the NSW Country Hour on ABC Radio today, Monday, July 10.
It is the first time the agents have spoken publicly since the July 1 deadline to sign the licence agreement passed.
There were no sales at the NRLX last week and none is planned for this week.
This Wednesday, July 12, the agents will be using Lismore Saleyards to sell cattle.
“We had to make a decision. We have clients who want to sell cattle,” Mr Perkins told the ABC.
“Last week, cattle already went to Warwick, Inverell and Lismore that would have been sold at NRLX.”
The council has made it clear what it wants. And it’s not backing down.
Mr Perkins said there were up to 65 clauses the agents were unhappy with in the council’s agreement.
One of the issues was the council taking over the movement of cattle at the NRLX and charging $8.80 a head.
“We can do it for $4.60–$4.80 a head and with a lot more experienced people,” Mr Perkins said.
The increase in fees to agents was also an issue. The council has changed the fees from $1 a head of cattle to 0.2% of gross revenue.
Fees are one of the issues that could be open for discussion, Mr Perkins said.
The NRLX expressions of interest process catered for up to seven licensed agents to sign on.
The five agents in the Casino Auctioneers Association were part of the EOI process but refused to sign as the deadline approached.
“We get to July 1 and there are no agents signed,” Mr Perkins said.
“What does that tell you? How good is this agreement?”
The agreement is unachievable and no one should sign, he said.
“We as agents take great pride in going out, serving our clients from the field. We bring the cattle to the yards, we draft them, we take delivery and we keep contact of that process.
“The council want to take that away from us. Basically, they want to control our businesses and that’s not going to happen.”
Ms Honan reported council had said “the agents are making a pretty good commission on sales through the NRLX and should pay more”.
“We understand costs are up but it is incorrect that agents charge 4.5%–5% commission,” Mr Perkins said.
“We have gone through flood and fire – and we are not going to back down.
“This is very toxic.”
The Casino All Breeds sale scheduled for later this month will be the only sale going ahead at NRLX. Read the story below for more information.