The Macleay Valley's farming and cattle industry has received a much-needed boost with council securing the future of Kempsey Saleyards.
Following an extensive review and tender process, Kempsey Shire Council have agreed to enter into an agreement with local stock and station agent Kempsey Stock & Land to lease and manage the Kempsey Saleyards for the next 10 years with an option for a further 10 years.
Under the lease agreement, adopted at Tuesday's council meeting, Kempsey Stock & Land will contribute to capital improvements of the saleyards, while council, as owner, will continue to seek grant funding for further upgrades.
Kempsey Shire Mayor Liz Campbell celebrated the agreement as a win for users of the saleyards as well as the entire community.
"This lease represents a fantastic, forward-thinking partnership that will ensure our vital saleyards not only survive but thrive for the next decade," Cr Campbell said.
"We are additionally proud to have reached this agreement with a strong local firm in Kempsey Stock & Land, meaning their extensive expertise and experience will be poured into the improvement of the saleyards, providing a secure source of income for council, while ensuing its use as a refuge in times of natural disaster."
The lease was approved following an extensive process that began in May 2018, including significant community and stakeholder engagement, to determine the preferred Kempsey Regional Saleyards operating model.
The lease agreement ensures, among other requirements, the continued commercial operation of Kempsey Regional Saleyards at its current location, the ongoing use of Kempsey Regional Saleyards as a stock refuge during declared emergencies, the capacity of impoundment of livestock by council at the facility when required, the ability for the landlord to undertake upgrades where grant funding is secured and for the premises to be made available for use by other Licenced Stock Agents at least one day per month.
This successful lease arrangement comes soon after the delivery of upgrades to Kempsey Saleyards through bushfire recovery grants.
Kempsey Shire Council General Manager Craig Milburn emphasised the rigorous planning, engagement and tender process undertaken by staff in reaching this landmark agreement.
"It is great that the councillors acknowledged the professionalism of this work in their discussion of the matter," Mr Milburn said.
"Over the last three years, council have conducted incredibly diligent research into industry standards, extensive community and stakeholder engagement and a thorough tender process to ensure every option was considered and that we have arrived at the best solution for all parties."
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