'Mates rates' deal for Yaralla Estate


The O’Farrell Government entered into a ‘mates rates’ deal over the Yaralla Estate – signing away the public horse paddocks to the NSW Mounted Police for only a fraction of what the community horse owners were paying.

Shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley has released the agreement between the Sydney Local Health District and NSW Police – which the O’Farrell Government has fought to keep secret.


Under the contract, the Mounted Police would pay Health only $24,400 per annum plus GST for the lease of the Yaralla paddocks at Concord.

Only weeks ago, the Government kicked out 30 local horse owners, who between them were paying in the vicinity of $78,000 annually to agist their horses at Yaralla.

“NSW Health has kicked out 30 local horse owners, who between them were forking out $6,000 from their own pockets every month to agist their horses at Yaralla, and signed over the paddocks to the police for only $2,000 a month,” Mr Foley said today.

“Tens of thousands of dollars that should be spent on much needed health services in Sydney were deliberately passed up by Jillian Skinner and her bureaucrats. And in the process the Inner West’s local horse owners were booted out.

“No wonder the O’Farrell Government has fought to keep this deal secret.

“Health claimed legal privilege over 76 documents returned in the Parliament’s order for papers, so that they could not be released publicly.

“I am today releasing the secret deal between two arms of the O’Farrell Government because the community has a right to know. I dare the Government to come after me over this.

“In addition to handing over the paddocks to the Mounted Police Unit, Health also threw in stables, a dairy shed and other small buildings for the bargain basement price. Thirty horse owners had each paid $50 per week to have their horses at the Yaralla Estate, and did not enjoy these additional facilities.

“This deal fails any test of public interest. The Health Minister should now finally act to overrule her officials and bring our community’s horses back to the Yaralla estate.”

Comparison table

Local community members paying $50 per horse per week (30 horses): $1,500 per week / $78,000 per annum

Mounted Police Unit agreement with Sydney Local Health District: $469.23 per week / $24,400 per annum