Mayor strikes back at agent claims about NRLX ‘incidents’

Mayor Robert Mustow with charity recipients of the Casino All Breeds sale on July 30. All Breeds sale organiser Bruce Lyle is third from the left. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow has stepped publicly into the dispute between the agents and NRLX with the release of a statement.

The Casino Auctioneers Association released a statement at the end of July.

This week council’s general manager Vaughan Macdonald issued a statement about the NRLX.

In the statement released today, Thursday, August 24, Mr Mustow said “the claims made by the Casino Auctioneers Association contained many inaccuracies and included the following reference to me: ‘with the Mayor claiming that there have been many major incidents’.”

“I can confirm I have been made aware of many documented incidents occurring at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange. These have included warnings being issued to non-council staff who operate at the facility, some requiring police involvement and, in some instances, CCTV footage is available,” Mr Mustow said.

The statement mentioned these incidents:

● Police arresting a non-council operator at the saleyards with footage on the local news.

● An unauthorised firearm being brought onto the NRLX property to euthanise a beast and then butchering occurring on site.

● Castration of a bull within the saleyard without veterinary involvement.

● Contract workers falsifying statements for multiple injury reports.

● Unauthorised cutting of perimeter fences on multiple occasions to enable entry and exit of stock.

● Illegal and unpaid use of the facility.

● Failure to comply with bio-security directions.

“These are serious incidents, some requiring police or RSPCA involvement and all in breach of a range of NSW legislation and animal welfare standards and requirements for the operation of a saleyard.

“None of these incidents involved council employees,” Mr Mustow said.

Since June 1 there has only been one sale at the NRLX – this was the Casino All Breeds Sale which benefited three community groups.

Security was hired for that sale and Mr Mustow explains why.

“This was a result of recent serious threatening behaviour towards a contractor working at the facility who was threatened that any issues would be dealt with by a weapon, along with staff being abused on the day prior to the sale,” Mr Mustow said.

“It is unacceptable for council staff and anyone who works at the saleyard to have to deal with such threats and abuse. Council is responsible for everyone’s safety and with the large number of people expected at the All Breeds Sale, it was decided security was needed to ensure the safety of all attendees.”

Mr Mustow said the personal attack by the auctioneers’ association on the NRLX manager was unprofessional and defamatory, as “he has been doing the job he’s been hired and is required to do”.

“He is acting on breaches and requiring compliance with the operational requirements of a facility of this standard. I, and I believe my fellow councillors, fully support the management of the NRLX.”

He also addressed the bullying accusation made by the CAAI.

“This is simply not the case. I invite you to read our Mayor and Councillors’ statement of 24 July 2023, as well as the recent NRLX update by the General Manager and consider the breaches outlined above before giving any weight to the CAAI’s statement,” he said.

The statement ended with this:

“I believe the majority of our community does not condone this kind of behaviour, and our Council remains united that it is time to change the culture of the NRLX. We will continue to pursue discussions with stakeholders who want to operate at the NRLX in line with the standards the majority of our community expects.”

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