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Pat Conaghan MP

Millions to upgrade Kempsey Saleyards, stopping Tropical Soda Apple infestation

Kempsey Shire Council has received a critical boost to help in the bushfire recovery thanks to Stage Two of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the Australian and NSW Governments.

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said $6.3 million was allocated to the Kempsey Regional Saleyards and a further $724,000 to help tackle Tropical Soda Apple.

“An infrastructure upgrade at Kempsey Regional Saleyards will provide an enhanced facility for local cattle vendors and buyers and ensure we have a competitive saleyard for the Mid North Coast,” Ms Pavey said.

“In addition, Tropical Soda Apple has significantly increased throughout the Valley since the devastating 2019 bush fires. A comprehensive control program will assist landholders to eliminate infestations, protect the natural water courses and prevent further spread to private and public lands.”

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery funding for the Kempsey Regional Saleyards will see an estimated increase of 36 jobs in the shire.

“This represents the direct addition of 15 jobs in the local building construction sector, an additional 16 jobs in other related intermediate industries and a further five jobs through consumption impacts,” Mr Conaghan said.

“A further 16 jobs are likely to be created as part of the flow-on effect of this upgrade, bringing the total combined effect of economic multipliers in Kempsey Shire and the wider Australian economy is estimated to be an addition of 55 jobs.

“The infrastructure upgrade will provide a better facility for local cattle vendors and buyers. The upgrade will include a yard roof, a kiosk, amenities, an office, paving, an additional cattle yard, seating and landscaping.”

Kempsey Shire Council Mayor Liz Campbell said the funding would support two projects that would promote both physical and economic recovery in a shire where 45 per cent of land was burned during the Black Summer Bushfires.

“The $6.3 million grant for the saleyards will enable us to fast-track developments that had been planned in consultation with stakeholders to vastly improve capacity, amenity and animal welfare,” Cr Campbell said.

“It is a game changer not just for the facility, but for our cattle industry and the shire as a whole. In times of natural disaster these saleyards are a vital refuge for cattle and these works will ensure that safety as well as elevating the facility to a level our cattle producers deserve.

“Our farmers are also going to see a benefit with the support in the fight against Tropical Soda Apple. They are so incredible in the way that they bounce back from fires and floods, so it’s fantastic to be able to help them in this important fight with a weed that takes advantage of these circumstances.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the diverse nature of the Stage Two Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund projects was driven by the specific recovery needs of each community and guided by locally led applications.

“One year has passed since properties were damaged or destroyed by the Black Summer bushfires and we are continuing to deliver the support that the Macleay region needs,” Mr Barilaro said.

“People are rebuilding their lives and we are backing projects that will provide improved local amenities, and increase preparedness to future bushfires.”

Mr Barilaro said more than 650 applications were received from 47 LGAs impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires in NSW, requesting a total of $1.6 billion – more than six times the original funding available.

“I understand that preparing and submitting applications takes a lot of time and energy and with such an oversubscription of applications and high demand for funding, it means there will be many disappointed applicants,” Mr Barilaro said.

“I am pleased that unsuccessful applicants will have the chance to consider submitting their project to the Australian Government’s $280 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants that is expected to open in early July 2021.”

The Department of Regional NSW led the merit-based assessment of all 652 applications against the published guidelines and assessment criteria. The robust, fair and transparent process was overseen by independent probity advisors from both the Australian and NSW governments.

Applications were assessed and recommended by the Department of Regional NSW and subsequently reviewed and endorsed by the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, with final funding decisions approved by the NSW Government.

The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Package is one part of the $4.5 billion overarching bushfire support program co-funded by the Australian and NSW Governments for bushfire recovery, response and preparedness in NSW.

For further information, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund

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