NEW South Wales livestock sales will continue next week under tighter COVID-19 restrictions despite the state’s growing virus outbreak and extended stay-at-home rules.
Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association chief executive officer Peter Baldwin said saleyards will be able to continue operations, but under tightened attendance and COVID-19 protocols.
“We have sought extra hard to safeguard the health and safety of our buyers and transport operators who attend these sales.”
He said saleyards are part of agriculture are regarded as an essential service.
“We are seeking to ensure that every participant in this key food supply chain and workplace in terms of safeguarding human health and ensuring that these facilities are safe work environment.”
“The key point is the reminder to those buyers, or those people attending, who are coming from areas that are not affected, that they will be subject to the same provisions as anyone in an affected area, in terms of their obligation to isolate.”
Australian Livestock Markets Association executive officer Kate McGilvray said under the current Public Health Order, NSW saleyards are permitted to operate regardless of their location.
“ALMA recommends that all stakeholders, permitted to attend saleyards, understand if they are classed as an ‘affected person’ and what movement restrictions apply to them once they have left a saleyard, particularly if that saleyard is located within a lockdown area.
“The safety of essential workers in saleyards is the highest priority and we remind all attendees to comply with social distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene, QR coding and comply with any additional conditions requested by the saleyard and/or imposed by government,” she said.
“Nationally, saleyards continue to operate under the red meat industry agreed Australian Saleyard COVID-19 Framework in which members of the public are not permitted to attend.
“Some saleyards, following their own risk assessments, may and have implemented additional restrictions such as a no-vendor attendance policy,” Ms McGilvray said.
“We are currently advising all people, prior to going to a saleyard, to check with their saleyard or agent regarding local attendance conditions.”
Dubbo Regional Livestock Markets manager Ross McCarthy said despite the city of Dubbo being in lockdown, its saleyard, being an essential service, is still “very much in business” and Monday’s sheep sale will proceed. The DRLM has also issued an advice notice to its stakeholders.
“Vendors are not being permitted in because they don’t need to be at the actual sale.
“We had relaxed that, but obviously public health takes priority,” Mr McCarthy said.
He said vendors dropping off their own livestock will be regarded as a carrier.
“In line with NSW public health orders, if a buyer comes in from an area that is not in lockdown, they are subject to restrictions of the area they have been in – whether that is Sydney, Newcastle or Dubbo.
“So if a buyer comes into Dubbo from Forbes, that is not in lockdown at the moment, when they return home they are under the same stay-at-home orders as someone from Dubbo is.”
Mr McCarthy said livestock buyers fit the essential worker criteria but they will need to have a letter from their employer or if self-employed, a COVID Safe plan, to show police why they are on the road.
DRLM operations co-ordinator Gavin Borham said the city’s weekly sheep sale on Monday will proceed with attendance limited to buyers, agents and essential council staff. The saleyard’s COVID Safe plan is in place, which includes mandatory face mask use and QR code check-in. Social distancing and hand sanitisation will be strongly encouraged and anyone exhibiting any COVID symptoms is asked to stay at home and get tested.
COVID-19 safety rules must be followed – NSW DPI
A NSW Department of Primary Industries statement said it is advised not to travel into areas with current stay-at-home orders.
“Under the current public health orders, auctions in local government areas (LGAs) that are under stay-at-home orders can only be held online; however, persons are permitted to attend a saleyard to drop off, inspect or collect livestock, if they are attending for the purpose of work.
“If you reside outside an impacted LGA, you are permitted to travel into these areas for the purposes of work if you’re unable to reasonably work from home (i.e. drop off, inspect or collect livestock),” the statement said.
“While in these LGAs; however, you must follow COVID-19 safety rules and follow stay-at-home orders when you return home.”
For the latest health orders including movement restrictions, please visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
Click here for more information on the NSW Government rural and regional COVID-19 restrictions.