The project that will deliver $50 million boost to economy
THE first sod was turned for stage two of the $7 million stage two upgrade of the NRLX yesterday, cementing it as "the premium place to do business" according to Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald.
Including stage one, which was completed earlier this year, the $14 million upgrade of Casino Saleyards was expected to deliver a $50 million boost to the local economy.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis joined mayor Robert Mustow and Mr Macdonald for the announcement.
Cr Mustow said it was set to be "one of the best saleyards in the country" and would be completed early next year before the weaner sales.
Mr Macdonald said the state-of-the-art facility was going to make a huge impact on the local economy, and cement Casino as the true beef capital.
"It means jobs, growth and bringing the agricultural industry to the beef capital of Australia, which is what Casino is," Mr Macdonald said.
"We are the premium place to do business in the Northern Rivers, not only for cattle but for other business industries as well."
And there's no debate about Casino's title.
"At the end of the day Casino's beef week is every year and Rockhampton's is every three years so while that's the case we'll hang on to the crown," he said.
"I think the rivalry is good for both of us, it's about how important the agricultural industry is for Australia which we are seeing at the moment with the drought.
"We've got a lot of projects going on, this one's leading the way."
All additions to stage two will match or exceed stage one quality, with roofing, replacement of drinking troughs and pipes, lighting, steelwork, additional selling pens, carpark space, upgrades and refurbishment to amenities and canteen, and more.
"The second stage is another larger roof, soft flooring throughout the facility, better animal welfare outcomes, better worker safety and better comfort for the public and for the many buyers that come to casino to get their cattle," Mr Macdonald said.
"What the roof does is enables soft floor to go throughout the facility - 150mm of sawdust which provides comfort for the cattle.
"We've increased the number of selling pens and there's solar power on the roof.
"It's going to be a state of the art facility and one we're very proud of.
"Stage two wont affect the selling side of the saleyards which is the important part."
Mr Gulaptis said the project would "instil some confidence into the agricultural sector" during the drought.
"The project was about environmental issues, animal welfare issues and the staff that work here work in a climate controlled 21st century facility and it ensures the cattle that come to market are in great condition so they can get great prices for them...it's terrific for the producer and for the buyer," he said.
It was one of a number of infrastructure projects highlighted yesterday and also included:
The official opening of the outdoor gym equipment in Evans Head.
Broadwater shared cycleway.
The official opening of Coraki Jetty.
Bus shelter funding announcement, Casino.
Shared cycleway, Casino