Bega Valley Shire Council has 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 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 150kms 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 the 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 Kristy McBain said the local project was developed in consultation with local farming groups and co-operatives, support organisations and major agricultural businesses.
“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,” she said.
“In the case of the saleyards, they support over 2000 buyers and sellers who attend sale days each year from across our shire, the Eurobodalla, Snowy-Monaro and East Gippsland.”
Proactively identifying the need to set a long-term strategic direction for the saleyards, council had already engaged 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 provide feedback by visiting here before March 4 and for more information contact council’s economic development manager Daniel Murphy on 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.