Saleyards dream is realised
CUTTING of the ceremonial ribbon has marked the beginning of a new era for the Roma Saleyards.
The new facility was opened to the public on Sunday night as part of Australia Day celebrations, and the public were treated to a first look at the $8.61 million upgrade, seizing the opportunity to experience the one-of-a-kind interpretative centre.
Kicking off after a citizenship ceremony in the stud cattle arena, and the presentation of local Australia Day awards, current councillors were finally able to celebrate the culmination of years of hard work behind the scenes to get the saleyards upgrades off the ground.
"In its 50 years, the Roma Saleyards has put 11 million head of cattle through these yards, and in that 50 years, into the economy of the Maranoa region and the regions we sell from, an amount of $5 billion dollars," Councillor Peter Flynn said.
"Since its opening in 1969 the Roma Saleyards has become the largest cattle selling centre in the southern hemisphere, but that doesn't just happen overnight.
"That progress has occurred over the past five decades, and is the result of hard work by many, many individuals."
The upgrades, including all new buildings, a new stud stock selling ring, and the audiovisual interpretative centre for tourists, have been a long time coming for the Roma Saleyards.
In fact, Cr Flynn had traced back the beginnings of the project to the first council meeting of the year, 17 years ago, where they outlined a vision for the saleyards which included an interpretative centre to attract tourists.
"June 11, 2003 was when the feasibility study for the beef interpretative centre first commenced," he said.
"The initial meeting was held on January 15, 2003; this has been 17 years in the making, and there has been a tremendous amount of work that has gone in to it.
"The final product is a major improvement for those working at the yards, and hopefully we can all use this facility much more." Construction of the new buildings was completed in December, with the former condemned buildings of the original facility demolished earlier this month.
The new facility is state of the art, with hi-tech systems connecting every room in the multipurpose centre to a live feed of information from the sales. "This project would not have been possible without the dedication, passion and working collaboration of countless people," Cr Flynn said.
"The Roma Saleyards is so much more than a cattle selling centre, it is a major part of the agricultural identity of this area.
"This is a proud day for the Maranoa Regional Council - our whole region - as we come together to celebrate this important milestone, and the future of our saleyards."