It's not just about the auction

Saleyards funding needs to look at the big picture

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Kempsey Shire Council has received $6.3 million to upgrade its regional saleyards. Photo: Samantha Townsend

Kempsey Shire Council has received $6.3 million to upgrade its regional saleyards. Photo: Samantha Townsend

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Millions of dollars are being thrown at improving saleyard infrastructure across the state but the peak body says more needs to be done for broader industry based research projects.

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Millions of dollars are being thrown at improving saleyard infrastructure across the state but the peak body says more needs to be done for broader industry based research projects.

In the past four years, the NSW Government has allocated nearly $50 million to seven regional councils to spruce up their saleyards.

While this has been welcomed by the sector, Australian Livestock Markets Association executive officer Kate McGilvray said funding support was also needed for broader industry based research projects and initiatives that provided benefit to the entire red meat supply chain.

"Support for adapting to the possible implementation of national EID for sheep and goats and the modernisation and implementation of a national saleyard integrity and assurance system are just some examples of immediate need," Ms McGilvray said.

She added that any amount of government funding received by individual saleyards to support them improve their capacity, amenity and animal welfare outcomes was welcome.

"We know that in addition to the facility improvements themselves, that projects like these provide significant positive flow on impacts to the economies of local communities," she said.

Peter Baldwin from Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association also welcomed "intelligent" investment for the "betterment" of facilities.

"A saleyard is a place of work and therefore we want the saleyards to be safe, we want to see the best for vendors right across the landscape to have access to good quality facilities," Mr Baldwin said.

"It's so vital for small centres, medium centres and larger centres in remote and regional areas as it injects so much money into those economies.

"We can clearly recognise the economic and social benefits of a saleyards in towns and cities, it's not just employment, it's the contribution it makes to the GDP. It keeps business local, projects local and at the same time punctuates the history of these important pastoral towns.

"We would always love to have the ear of government when meaningful and significant investment needs to be made that supports biosecurity, traceability, animal welfare and economies."

The latest to benefit from a government funding boost is Kempsey Regional Saleyards, which has received $6.3m as part of stage two of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.

The upgrade will include a yard roof, kiosk, amenities, office, paving, additional cattle yard, seating and landscaping.

Oxley MP Melinda Pavey said an infrastructure upgrade at Kempsey Regional Saleyards would provide an enhanced facility for local cattle vendors and buyers and ensure we have a competitive regional saleyard for the Mid North Coast.

Kempsey Shire Council mayor Liz Campbell said the grant for the saleyards was a "game changer not just for the facility, but for our cattle industry and the shire as a whole".

"In times of natural disaster these saleyards are a vital refuge for cattle and these works will ensure that safety as well as elevating the facility to a level our cattle producers deserve," Ms Campbell said.

Meanwhile other councils to have benefited from a funds boost include Glen Innes Severn Council $1,250,000, Armidale Regional Council was allocated $4,998,000 for the upgrade Armidale and Guyra Livestock Selling Centres, Federation Council $9.2 million for Corowa Saleyards Regional Redevelopment, Gunnedah Shire Council $14m and Wingecarribee Shire Council $5,248,280 for the Southern Regional Livestock Exchange.

Richmond Valley Council is the only council that has completed their upgrade at the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange after $7m was spent.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said by improving saleyards and livestock facilities, it helped to increase visitation and trade, which in turn provided a positive economic flow-on effect for local businesses and allowed even more stock and sellers to use the facilities.

"Regional NSW boasts some of the best agricultural land and is home to some of the best livestock in the world and this funding ensures our saleyards reflect that," Mr Barilaro said.

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