THE Federal Government has thrown its support behind the Katanning Saleyards by announcing a $7.4 million contribution to the project.
The Shire of Katanning applied for the regional funding under the first round of the Federal Government's Regional Development Australia Fund and Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean announced the added funding earlier this month.
Shire of Katanning chief executive Dean Taylor said there was tough competition for the funding.
"There were over 550 applications nationally of which only 35 received funding," Mr Taylor said.
"This funding on top of the $17 million provided by the State Government will ensure the new saleyards will be state of the art with the capacity to meet both the current and projected future needs of the region's sheep industry."
Mr Taylor said the funding was the result of hard work from the Katanning Shire staff and the community members involved.
He said the new saleyards would address many of the environmental, safety and animal welfare issues with the current saleyard site.
"We will ensure Katanning continues to gain the economic benefits from having this major agricultural facility in Katanning," he said.
He said the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) had also given works approval for the start of construction and they would begin in the next few weeks.
Katanning Saleyards manager Rod Bushell said it was a major step forward with the funding and the works approval.
"It's full steam ahead," Mr Bushell said.
"We have started earthworks on the site and started tendering for equipment and supplies.
"We think the earthworks are going to take a couple of months but depending on when the tenders come in for the steel it will probably be November or December before any construction is done."
Mr Bushell said the DEC sign off for works approval had held up the process slightly but they were still aiming to finish the project by early 2013.
"As soon as we got the tick off from the DEC we could start to get the ball rolling," he said.
"Originally we were aiming to open the facility by January 2013 but we have been held up by the DEC for three or four months so it could be difficult now."
Mr Bushell said the funding would now allow the project to be finished completely.
"All along we had planned to build the saleyards with room for extensions," he said.
"But now with that extra $7.4 million we intend to finish the project completely so that will delay the opening as well."