THE ceremonial first sod of dirt has been turned at the Glen Innes Regional Saleyards sheep complex.
Politicians, local and state, gathered on Friday to mark the first project in NSW to be funded by the state government's $170-million drought stimulus package.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall at the ceremony said the project could not have come at a better time for Glen Innes, as it fights its way through drought.
"Between now and early December work will begin to disassemble the old wood panelled sheep yards and erect a set of temporary yards to allow sheep sales to continue until the project is complete," said Mr Marshall.
"Over the next few months the old saleyards will be revitalised with new sheep selling pens, loading ramps, upgraded amenities, installation of lighting and water troughs, sealed carpark and associated signage and landscaping.
"By the end of February Glen Innes will boast one of the most modern and functional sheep selling complexes in the Northern Tablelands and reinforce its position as a major selling centre," he said.
Mr Marshall said Glen Innes Severn Council would utilise multiple contractors over the various stages of the project.
"The Drought Stimulus Package was established as a means of creating jobs and mitigating the negative employment effects which result from ongoing drought," he said.
"All up over the five stages of this development local electricians, metalworkers and builders will be employed to construct what will be one of the premier sheep selling facilities in northern NSW."