Time runs out for locals to bid for saleyards

The public meeting held at the Casino RSM Club on September 4.

Susanna Freymark

Time has run out for the local group leading the charge to form a co-op and tender for the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange in Casino.

The tender process closes in two days – on November 30.

Richmond Valley Council appointed real estate firm JLL to manage the tender process independently. The successful tenderer will take control of the NRLX business in the new year.

When agents refused to sign a new NRLX licencing agreement by the end of June, the saleyards were closed and have remained so.

A group of locals – Allan Berry, Kasee Estreich, Neil and Penny Schneider, Roger Bailey, Bruce Lyle and Jenny Handford organised two public meeting to discuss the NRLX closure.

Read about the meetings here.

“With the RVC determined to pursue tendering the NRLX, our only option was to compete in the tender process,” the group said in a public letter today, Tuesday, November 28. 

“To this end, we thoroughly explored the option of forming a co-op as has been successfully modelled by numerous groups across Australia.

“As we proceeded, it became obvious the complexity of the tender could not be addressed in the time frame given. Many aspects of the process required significant input from accounting, legal and industry experts. Given time, these could have been addressed, and although we requested an extension, our request was denied.

“Our worst case scenario is that the NRLX, developed with millions of dollars of federal and state grants to benefit employment and growth of the Northern Rivers community, is not handed on a platter to a profit motivated multinational corporation who will take money out of our local community to serve their shareholders.”

The group wants to see local stock agents submit a successful tender. But time is running out.

If the council does not find a successful tender by November 30, the group will consider adopting a team of local experts to form an advisory committee and review the management model. 

That approach relies on no successful tender coming forward in this round.

More NRLX stories here.

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