SALEYARD REDEVELOPMENT: John McVeigh and Ken O'Dowd with Burnett Livestock and Realty's Lance and Stephanie Whitaker who were a successful applicant under the Australian Governments Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.
SALEYARD REDEVELOPMENT: John McVeigh and Ken O'Dowd with Burnett Livestock and Realty's Lance and Stephanie Whitaker who were a successful applicant under the Australian Governments Regional Jobs and Investment Packages. Contributed

Economic boost for the Burnett region

THE redevelopment of the Biggenden saleyards is set to expand sale day capacity of the complex by almost half.

Burnett Livestock and Realty's Lance and Stephanie Whitaker, who operate the saleyards, were successful in gaining $1.2million of the $3.5million project through the Australian Government's Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government Dr John McVeigh and Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd made the announcement at Gin Gin last Wednesday.

Mr Whitaker said the funding would help in future-proofing the saleyards.

"This means producers will have a modern selling facility that meets animal welfare and safety guidelines and will be productive for decades to come,” he said.

"The redevelopment of the saleyards will provide jobs in Biggenden not only for the construction phase but also in the long term operation of the facility.”

Mr Whitaker said the saleyards played a vital role, both economically and socially.

"From an economic perspective, visitors spend money in town supporting other small businesses which is vitally important for rural communities such as Biggenden and throughout the North Burnett,” he said.

In 2017 about 44,000 head of cattle were sold through the Biggenden saleyards.

Mr O'Dowd said it was positive news for the community to see this capacity expanded.

He said the upgrade would inject money into the community and create jobs.

"It's operations such as livestock saleyards that underpin the local economy in many ways, not just creating direct employment but bringing trade into the town which in turn supports the local economy,” Mr O'Dowd said.

"I look forward to seeing the works get under way with more than 30 full-time jobs created during the construction phase and more ongoing jobs for the years to come.”

The redevelopment incorporates redesigned layout, 384 selling and 61 holding pens, new weighbridge, overhead walkways, buyers laneways, double and single deck loading ramps and new drafting facilities.