Officials turn first sod at saleyard site

Brendan LeicesterCountryman

Ten years of hard work has finally paid off for the Shire of Katanning, following the official groundbreaking ceremony for its Regional Sheep Saleyard on Monday.

Premier Colin Barnett was on hand for first turning of the soil at the site, which is expected to attract more than one million sheep trade sales each year.

The Premier, who was in Katanning on Sunday as part of the Regional State Cabinet meeting, said the $21.5 million facility represented a “vote of confidence” in the rural economy.

“From the Government’s point of view, this is also a vote of confidence in the animal industry on a whole, ” Mr Barnett said.

“I’m delighted that the shire will build it, and employ local people and apprentices, which will provide a great boost to local economy.

“This saleyard, like Muchea (Livestock Centre) will be built to world’s best practice, with not only considerations of good environmental management but also animal welfare.”

According to Mr Barnett, the existing saleyard — built in 1922 — was in poor condition and a new saleyard in Katanning was well overdue.

Katanning Shire chief executive Dean Taylor said the project, when complete, will cover more than 41,000sqm and will have the most sophisticated waste water treatment system in Australia.

“For every 10mm of rainfall that runs off the site, we will capture 1,175,000 litres of water, ” he said.

“It will be the only saleyard in Australia to provide water to sheep in the selling pens.”

Shire president Richard Kowald said Monday’s ceremony was the culmination of 10 years’ work by the shire and a huge achievement for the community.

It is understood the State Government will contribute $17 million towards the new yards, with the remaining $4.5 million provided by the Shire of Katanning.

Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said the facility’s base design included 672 pens, and was expected to open by early 2013.

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