Major upgrades worth $17.6 million are planned for Gunnedah Shire Council's saleyards to cement Gunnedah's position as one of the premier locations for selling livestock in NSW.
The planned upgrade is expected to be completed in mid-2023, will be a significant economic boost for the region and future-proofing the local beef industry, Gunnedah Shire Council's deputy mayor Rob Hooke said.
The saleyards sold up to $80 million worth of cattle annually in the past few years. The upgrades will allow even more people to access the facilities, boosting the local economy and broader region, Cr Hooke said.
"We can see Gunnedah becoming a centre for protein processing as the council is still working towards a long term aim of a meat processing plant. And this will encourage the establishment of feedlots in the region," Cr Hooke said.
He said the upgrades would benefit the day-to-day productivity at the saleyards, with the improved loading ramps expected to reduce the time it takes to load and unload cattle.
Other significant changes include improvements to parking and lighting across the saleyards, a new car park and canteen on the saleyards side of the Kamilaroi Highway, with upgrades to the security, office and conference rooms, and change room facilities for women and men and fencing.
"This will make the saleyards a much safer workplace for staff and any members of the public who access the saleyards," Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey said.
There will also be improvements to cattle ramps, gates, fencing and watering systems, and technological enhancements to move them into the future. Wi-Fi will be installed and high-speed internet, which will go a long way to support online sales.
The project is expected to employ more than 80 people throughout the construction.
The project is funded with $14 million from the NSW Government and $3.6 million from Gunnedah Shire Council.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.