During a beef cattle auction at the South West Victoria Livestock Exchange in October 2020, a platform holding up to 20 people collapsed, causing two individuals to fall, with one landing on top of the other.
Warrnambool City Council, which was responsible for the platform's safety, was found guilty of breaching safety laws by not having a qualified person inspect the platform's structural integrity.
In the Warrnambool Magistrates Court, the council pleaded guilty and was fined $12,500, along with $5,425 in costs, admitting that it should have taken measures to reduce or eliminate risks for the public using the buyers' platforms by engaging experts to check their safety and repairing or replacing any unsafe platforms.
During the investigation, experts found that most of the buyers' platforms at the saleyards were structurally unsound due to exposure to substances like animal faeces, urine, wash-out water, and marine air, making them highly prone to collapsing at any time.
While the council conducted regular checks and yearly inspections at the saleyards, the staff responsible for these tasks were unlikely to have the expertise to inspect the platforms' undersides properly.