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Dog fence pledges

Friday, 1st March, 2019

(From left) MP Kevin Humphries, Wild Dog Destruction Board’s Robert Wason and Neill Leigo, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, PAWD President Lachlan Gall and Western Local Land Services’ Grant Davis and Brooke Anderson at the Mundi Mundi Lookout. Picture: Callum Marshall (From left) MP Kevin Humphries, Wild Dog Destruction Board’s Robert Wason and Neill Leigo, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, PAWD President Lachlan Gall and Western Local Land Services’ Grant Davis and Brooke Anderson at the Mundi Mundi Lookout. Picture: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

The NSW government has pledged $37.5 million to extend the Wild Dog Exclusion Fence along the borders of South Australia and Queensland.

The 742km of extra fencing includes 420km along the NSW/Qld border heading eastwards towards Mungindi as well as 322km south towards the Murray River along the NSW/SA border. 

Wild dogs are able to slip into the state due to gaps in the fence and Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the announcement would help farmers and communities.

“Wild dogs are a huge issue across much of NSW, attacking and killing young livestock, damaging native fauna and restricting production options across many areas, particularly the rangelands,” Mr Barilaro said.

“With prolonged drought already impacting on farming businesses, it’s never been more important to protect our famers from the threat of pests.

“The impact wild dogs have on the economy is about $22 million, so there’s a real tangible cost to why this fence is actually required.”

Speaking out at Mundi Munid Loookout on Tuesday, Mr Barilaro said that if the project went ahead it would provide 80-odd jobs during construction which would begin on July 1. 

Local MP Kevin Humphries said the proposal had come about after years of consultation with landholders and groups.

“This project has been alive for many years but only in the last two years has it really ramped up,” said Mr Humphries.

“There are serious gaps in those fences, so it’s been up to landholders and a little bit of government money at times (to fix that.)

“We’ve paid the price, coming to the fore in 2016 when there was a big dog breeding season and they were getting around our fence and causing havoc, particularly amongst our sheep graziers who were getting back in off the back of good wool prices

“This’ll be a great infrastructure project and the world’s longest fence.”

Pastoralists Association of West Darling President, Lachlan Gall, who was had pushed for more further wild dog fencing, welcomed the announcement.

“The wild dog fence does a terrific job of keeping wild dogs out, but we have a rising problem of dogs coming around the end of the existing fence out of Queensland into North Western NSW and out of South Australia into South West NSW,” he said.

“That threatens the viability of small stock production, sheep and goats right across New South Wales.

“This is one of the issues which has been on our radar for a long time.”

On Wednesday, NSW Labor annnounced that they would match the state government’s funding for the fence, as well as allocating an additional $50 million to fight weeds and pests across the State.

Shadow Minister for Western NSW, Mick Veitch said not only was protecting farmers from wild dogs a priority, but also other pests and weeds.

“Funding the wild dog fence is what farmers have been asking for and we know this is a prudent investment to protect farms from wild dogs, keeping ravenous pests away from stock,” said Mr Veitch.

“On top of this, we have committed an extra $50 million to address other pest and weed issues. 

“When this drought does break, there is a real risk there will be an explosion of weeds from all the fodder that has been transported across our road corridors.

ìThis money will be ready to go to address this eventuality

Labor’s candidate for Barwon Darriea Turley said the party would also double the amount of money Landcare recieves.

ìWe are committed to the wild dog exclusion fence expansion ñ the National Party should now back Country Laborís additional funding to fight weeds and pests,” said Ms Turley.

ìA Labor Government will also provide more funding to our Landcare network and double the amount of money this organisation receives. 

“Labor is the only party that truly cares for our water, land and the long-term sustainability of our communities.î

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