Saleyards a step closer

NEW PENS: The protoype pens for the Mount Gambier Saleyards.

Charlotte Varcoe

UPGRADES to the Mount Gambier Saleyards is one step closer after Grant District Council’s application to the Growing Regions Program progressed to stage two.

The Mount Gambier Districts Livestock Exchange Transformation project aims to increase better animal welfare outcomes by including soft-fall matting, holding pen configurations, cattle yard roofing, sprinkler systems and rainwater harvesting.

In October, prototype cattle yards depicting the soft-fall matting and other features were completed with stock agents and other saleyard representatives welcoming the innovative pens.

Mount Gambier and Districts Saleyards strategy committee presiding member and Grant District councillor Barry Kuhl said the new prototypes for the yards showed visitors and the public the future plans should council be successful in the grant.

“There is lifting in the rails, the centre dividing pins have been turned into a gate and matting around the edge to hold all the soft fillings has been installed with the results being really good,” Mr Kuhl said.

“The cattle they have had in that pen have been a lot happier and there are reports back that the prototype, if successful, is what will be put through all the pens.”

He said having the prototype pens showed the agents and the public what changes were to be made before council went any further.

“Moving to stage two has been a big relief with the council committing money to the project already and to get to stage two is really good,” Mr Kuhl said.

“It gets us one step closer to fulfilling what we want to do here with the renovation and hopefully we will get through and get the money.”

Mount Gambier agents committee chairperson Brad Holdman said everyone at the saleyards had remained positive about the prototype pens with cattle showing more signs of comfort.

“The cattle are much happier on the soft fall and from animal welfare it has been really positive,” Mr Holdman said.

“With council reaching stage two there has not been a person who has said to me they do not see this as a positive thing and so we are really looking forward to that second stage.”

He said the pens would change the cattle coming in and out of the saleyards while also adding value from an animal health and welfare point of view.

“It will make the cattle better enlightened and it is very taxing on the cattle to be on hard ground so being on soft-fall makes them more relaxed,” Mr Holdman said.

“We are able to pin them in the pens in their selling teams overnight and they will be much more comfortable.

“It is a win-win for our community and our region and it is great council is putting in real effort in conjunction with the agents and giving the saleyards the best portfolio.”

Grant District Council chief executive officer Darryl Whicker said the announcement was a positive outcome for council.

“Advancement to the next stage of the Growing Regions Program is a significant milestone towards attracting Federal funding to complement commitments by the State Government and Council,” Mr Whicker said.

“While we take the time to celebrate this achievement, we acknowledge the work put into this project over a number of years.

“I would like to thank staff and stakeholders for their efforts to date and recognise that more work now begins to lodge a complete application.”

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven said the state government remained committed to the project and would deliver $2.7 million subject to the council’s successful application for Commonwealth funding.

“We know that this facility is important to our local industries, and a major upgrade would unlock

economic benefits,” Ms Scriven said.

“Transforming the site would boost market sales and provide a platform for producers to expand

and grow.”

The project remains reliant on appropriate funding at state and federal levels of government as well as council which remained firm it was willing to continue working strongly on the project.