NRLX upgrade project achieves key milestone

THE long-awaited Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) project at Casino takes a critical step forward this week with the handing over of phase one.

The opening of phase one will see users gaining access to features such as two semi-automatic drafts, eight new drafting pens, 12 multi-purpose pens, 50 new selling pens, soft floor throughout, full rail and gate replacement, new roof structure, walkways, storm water management, and electrical upgrades.

The handover allows the contractors to move into the next phase, which involves completion of the impressive new roof. Not only is the new roof big enough to cover the pitch at Suncorp Stadium, it also allows rain water harvesting and storage for use in the truck wash, pen hose down area, and public amenities. This will greatly reduce the NRLX’s reliance on town water supply. The capture of rain water will also mean a reduced volume of contaminated run-off to be processed onsite, providing significantly greater environmental outcomes.

The upgrade also provides industry benchmarks for work health and safety, and animal welfare benefits.

Richmond Valley Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said this was an exciting time for the NRLX as the users of the facility had been conducting sales since July while the construction of phase one was underway.

Mr Macdonald said as the fourth largest in cattle sales in NSW, and ninth across Australia, the NRLX played a big part in the local economy in many ways.

He said by enabling expansion and improvements to the NRLX, Council was certain this investment would pay dividends for economic development within the Richmond Valley, and the wider Northern Rivers region.

“This upgrade is a most critical project for the region’s productivity and economic growth, with the community deriving significant direct economic benefit from the NRLX,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Benefits flow to local growers having a facility close to their operations, stock and station agents who use the yards to run their business, transport operators who move stock and purchase fuel, locals who work there, and the businesses who support the NRLX operations and its users.

“There are also substantive indirect benefits which flow to the community through increased business transactions and services, which are required to service the families who live in the area because of the saleyards, and the additional activity which takes place when people outside of the area attend sales.”

Mr Macdonald said delivering economic benefits to the community and region as a whole, stage two would only mean more great things for the local economy.

He acknowledged there would continue to be some disruption to normal processes, however, the end result will be a modern and efficient selling centre, matching any saleyard in Australia.

“It’s estimated the full upgrade will deliver a $50 million boost to the local economy,” Mr Macdonald said.

“The livestock industry is already one of the largest employers in the region and this investment will ensure it continues to grow and prosper.”

The $14 million project is fully funded thanks to a $7 million investment from the NSW Government, with the Federal Government and Richmond Valley Council committing $3.5 million each.