Sunday, June 23, 2024

Federal Govt not sold on saleyards upgrade funding

The District Council of Grant has announced it will reevaluate the future of the Saleyards Transformation Project following an unsuccessful Federal Government funding bid.

In January, the Council applied for $7 million through the two stage Growing Regions Program for the Mount Gambier Districts Livestock Exchange 2030 Transformation Project.

Council Chief Executive Officer, Darryl Whicker said he was notified last Thursday that the major project had not secured funding.

“Council is disappointed with the announcement, however understands the importance of the Saleyards to our community as it is a premium selling centre within our region helping to support our primary producers,” Mr Whicker said.

“The Saleyards Strategy Committee, Council staff and stakeholders have put a significant amount of work into this Transformation Project over the last four years. We will now seek feedback from the Federal Government and the State Government on how we may work together to deliver our mutual commitment in the best interest of primary producers.”

The project proposes upgrades to modern infrastructure with cattle yard roofing, holding pen reconfigurations, soft flooring, sprinkler systems and rainwater harvesting. The work has been identified as a priority in the Mount Gambier and District Saleyards Masterplan 2018-2028.

Mr Whicker said Council increased its financial contribution to $4.3 million to allow for the project to be completed in its entirety when paired with the State Government’s commitment of $2.7 million and a successful Federal Government funding application.

Mount Gambier & District Saleyards Strategy Committee Presiding Member, Kongorong farmer and Councillor, Barry Kuhl said the project was critical for future agricultural growth and development within the district.

“It is disappointing not to have essential funding awarded to this development as the Saleyards have a long history of supporting agriculture in our region and throughout Australia,” Cr Kuhl said.

“The Saleyards are an excellent example of how Council infrastructure provides a necessary service to our local community but without upgraded assets in place, such a service cannot be delivered. To ensure the Saleyards remains sustainable for future generations, appropriate funding is needed now.”

The Council is set to meet in the coming weeks to consider the next steps.

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