$8m saleyards grant application

By Robert Muir

Roofing to cover an area of 19,000sqm of the existing Corowa Saleyards facility is a highlight of Federation Council’s ‘Growing Local Economies’ $7,952,332 grant application to the NSW State Government.

Total cost of the project – the many components of which are mentioned below – is $13,719,012. Council’s contribution towards the project would be $766,760. A further $5 million would be required from another funding source. 

At their latest monthly meeting on March 17, councillors were updated on the major grant submitted for upgrades/extension of the Corowa Saleyards complex.

Council initially submitted an expression of interest to the Growing Local Economies (GLE) Fund for the New South Wales State Government and was recently invited to provide a further business case. 

Council has submitted a business case for Round 2 of the GLE Fund. If successful, the Corowa Regional Agricultural Precinct Development seeks to sustain and enhance economic activity on the current site by activating a suite of future-proofing activities.

“This process includes improvements to current infrastructure, and offering a broader strategic and economic platform for potential investment,” council’s director development and environmental services Susan Appleyard said.

“The development project will be a catalyst for future proofing the saleyards facility and the Federation Local Government Area (LGA) economy. “

The development includes: 

Roofing of the existing Corowa Saleyards facility. Roofing would provide adequate shelter and protection, and assuage broader public opinion of concerns around unprotected livestock facilities. The roofing component of the work would also include installation of lighting to allow agents and buyers to effectively evaluate the quality of the sheep at market. 

Installation of water catchment, storage and delivery system - includes all cleaning, sanitation, truck wash, maintenance and watering of livestock and greatly reduce reliance on main water supplies.

Installation of a solar power system - allowing the facility to work towards becoming energy self-sufficient and contribute to ongoing economic savings, as well as contributing to Council’s Electricity Neutral 2025 plan. 

Expansion of the existing truck wash facility – ensuring optimal standards in and around biosecurity are maintained by reducing the risk of cross-contamination by providing greater access to wash down facilities for vehicles within Corowa. 

Construction of a commercial weigh station – enabling broader sector engagement (trucking and logistics) with the precinct by providing access to a trade certified weighbridge to support processes around compliance and adhesion to industry standards. 

Construction of a multi-purpose learning centre – allowing for the further development of a strategic relationship with Education providers, i.e. TAFE NSW. Further, it will cater for the delivery of practical components of courses on site at the Corowa Saleyards to supplement theoretical instruction occurring at Connected Learning Centres in Corowa, Albury, Finley, Deniliquin and the National Environment Centre. 

Upgrade of effluent management system – allowing the site to comply with all relevant regulatory obligations in relation to the catchment, treatment and storage or wastewater.

“The development will create a regionally significant precinct addressing animal welfare, productivity, education and training opportunities, impacts of climate change, and access to cost effective sustainable water and power on the current Corowa Saleyards site,” Ms Appleyard said.

“Broad support has been received for the project with letters of support being provided by State and Federal Ministers as well as various stakeholder industry groups.”

Council’s contribution of $766,760 will be included in its Capital Budget for 2020/2021. The proposal is dependent on additional grant funding being obtained for the overall project from additional grant sources.

The significance of Corowa Saleyards was emphasised by Cr Paul Miegel. “It’s a key economic driver in terms of the rural community we support and council’s operations,” he said of the council-owned saleyards.

“It’s the fourth largest saleyards in New South Wales and a key platform for council operations.”

Cr David Longley also emphasised the significance of Corowa Saleyards with its effect on the business community at Corowa. “Without the saleyards we wouldn’t be here,” he said.

Council is expecting an answer on its grant application in the second half of 2020. But, taking into consideration the coronavirus situation, council knows this decision could be pushed back slightly.