Regional buyers, excluding Sydneysiders, have been granted an exemption from NSW’s lockdown to attend regional auctions for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops.

Key points:

  • Exemption under Public Health Orders granted for essential food, fibre, livestock sales in regional NSW
  • Greater Sydney residents will be restricted, but other buyers can travel across LGAs
  • Only pre-registered buyers allowed at cattle markets in Casino

The sales have been given the green light after the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard granted an exemption under the Public Health Order. 

It applied to regional auctions held for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops, and people can participate in these outdoor public gatherings.

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the exemption allowed those critical and essential sales to proceed in a COVID-safe manner.

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“Bull sales, weekly store sales, fat cattle sales, sheep sales, wool auctions are allowed to continue to operate despite the week-long lockdown and the stay-at-home order,” he said.

Aside from the regular weekly market auctions, the exemption also applies to private on-property livestock sales. 

“Obviously with the lockdown only being announced late Saturday, a lot of those sales were already organised and so it would have been terribly inconvenient and incredibly costly to have to at the last moment cancel or try and postpone a lot of those auctions and sales,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall stands at lectern giving a speech

NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall says that residents of Greater Sydney will not be permitted to attend agricultural auctions in regional NSW.(

AAP: Joel Carrett

)

Mr Marshall said people can travel beyond their own local government area as long as they have a reasonable excuse to be there.

“That is, that they are actually working there at the sale or the auction or they are a registered buyer or going there with the intent to buy, that is a legitimate reason for being there,” Mr Marshall said.

Exemption a week too late for cattle stud

Wakefield Charolais and Angus Stud at Wollomombi near Ebor in northern NSW was forced to postpone its annual bull sale last Friday.

Stud principal Greg Frizell said the Armidale LGA was in lockdown and under the Public Health Order it couldn’t proceed.

“We weren’t allowed to have gatherings of more than two people, and people from outside our LGA because at that stage most of our clients were in areas that weren’t locked down, weren’t able to come here and then return without quarantining to their LGAs,” he said.

The Frizell family with creamy Charolais cattle on their Wakefield property near Ebor.

Greg and Jenny Frizell postponed their stud bull sale when Armidale LGA went into lockdown.(

Supplied: Frizell family

)

While the exemption would have been welcomed earlier, Mr Frizell said it now provided certainty for their new date next month. 

“As long as that exemption order extends through to September 1, yes it does, that means we will be able to hold our bull sale,” he said. 

“But hopefully it will only be a postponement and everything will proceed as per normal in another fortnight or so.”

In addition to the on-property auction, the stud is using Elite Livestock Auctions for online buyers to bid for the 60 bulls on offer.

Strict COVID measures at Casino cattle sales

Sales at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) in Casino will resume this week after shutting down last week when the Richmond Valley LGA went into lockdown. 

NLRX operations manager Brad Willis said the centre was allowed to operate, but they — along with agents — decided to hold off a week.

Restrictions have been beefed up this week and only pre-registered and approved buyers will be allowed access to the council-owned complex.

“We are going to be very firm that no vendors that are selling at the sale will be permitted entry.”

NRLX operations manager Brad Willis.

Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange operations manager Brad Willis says that only pre-registered buyers will be allowed to attend sales this week at its selling complex in Casino.(

ABC Rural: Kim Honan

)

But vendors can watch from home with online auction platform Stocklive operating for the Friday and Saturday store sales.

Mr Willis confirmed that police had visited the site to check on compliance a number of times over the last two to three weeks.

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NSW grants regional buyers green light to attend ‘essential’ livestock auctions
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