15 February 2019
Bega Valley Shire Council is delighted to have secured $999,970 in funding under the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Programme.
Local primary producers and those impacted by the Yankees Gap Fire are set to be the major beneficiaries of the project here in the Valley.
The Bega Saleyards will see a significant upgrade, while the grant will also enable fencing materials and labour to be provided to landholders to help replace the 150 kilometres of internal and boundary fencing severely damaged or destroyed in last year’s fire.
In collaboration with the South East Local Land Services drought resilience capacity building events will also be held to assist our local farming community to develop drought management strategies.
The plans for the saleyards include upgrades to the community kitchen and amenities (including the installation of an ambulant toilet); a renovation of the site office; improved signage and fencing; the conversion of an existing unused storage space into a community meeting room; the installation of industry tested rubber matting in the concrete livestock pens; the construction of a permanent open bay shelter over the dirt floor pens; and a renewal of the effluent management infrastructure.
Mayor, Cr Kristy McBain, said the local project was developed in consultation with local farming groups and co-operatives, support organisations, and major agricultural businesses.
“While we have received some very welcome rain in the past couple of months, it is imperative that as a community we continue to support our agricultural industry,” Cr McBain said.
“The challenges and difficulties posed by drought don’t simply disappear with the first rain and for an area where the agricultural sector represents a large proportion of the workforce, such as ours, it has had a very significant impact.
“In the case of the saleyards, they support over 2,000 buyers and sellers who attend sale days each year from across our Shire, the Eurobodalla, Snowy-Monaro and East Gippsland.
“For the regional agricultural industry, the saleyards are a key asset for local farmers to meet and discuss a range of industry trends, issues and opportunities and it also a space for socialisation and peer support in times of hardship and drought.
“These improvements will immensely improve the functionality, accessibility, safety and amenity of the site and I am very much looking forward to seeing the positive flow-on effects of this investment,” Cr McBain said.
Proactively identifying the need to set a long-term strategic direction for the Saleyards, Council had already engaged an external expert, Outcross Agriservices, to undertake a strategic review of the facility and its operations late last year. This review is being finalised, but initial directions helped inform a number of the projects eligible to be implemented with the funding.
The strategic review will help the saleyards support local agribusiness in the Shire through growing the facility’s productivity, upgrading existing infrastructure and improving financial returns.
Council has received the recommendations and is seeking feedback from the community on these.
You can play role in this process by visiting www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/haveyoursay before 4 March - for more information contact Council’s Economic Development Manager, Daniel Murphy, on (02) 6499 2222.
Those landholders with fire damaged fencing following the Yankees Gap Fire are encouraged to contact the Recovery Support Service on 6499 2475 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph: The Bega Saleyards are set for significant upgrade thanks to funding secured under the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Programme.