It has been confirmed that western NSW will get an extension to the current wild dog exclusion fence, no matter which party is elected into government on Saturday.
This follows commitments from both Labor and the Coalition to contribute $37.5 million to extend the wild dog exclusion fence during the recent election campaign.
The bipartisan support for extending the wild dog fence follows years of advocacy by the NSW Farmers' Goat Committee and Western Division Council. For farmers struggling in tough drought conditions, the announcement by both parties will be greatly appreciated. It demonstrates both Labor and the Coalition are focusing on agriculture and rural NSW this election.
The commitment will result in the fence being extended by at least 750 kilometres in the state's west, along the Queensland and South Australian borders. Once completed, the fence will run from Mungindi in the north to the Murray River in the south, protecting a significant portion of the state.
During the construction phase it is estimated the fence will generate approximately 85 jobs, with the Coalition plan including seven full-time staff to manage it post completion. This will be a much needed financial injection for local communities and economies that are doing it tough this drought.
When finished, farmers in our state's north west will have greater protection from wild dogs, a problem that costs the NSW agriculture sector between $50-$60 million each year in preventive measures and lost production. It will make rangeland goat production and other grazing activates in the Western Division far more viable and profitable.
To fully realise the benefit of the fence it is essential other wild dog programs such as 1080 baiting and the NSW Farmers wild-dog coordinator continue. The fight against wild dogs continues and we must not rest on our laurels. This is a step in the right direction that must be followed up by sustained government action once either party is in government.
The commitment to invest in the wild dog fence is an example of the great outcomes achieved by NSW Farmers Goat Committee.
Important initiatives and issues affecting the goat industry will be discussed at the upcoming NSW Goat Conference in Broken Hill on March 28. All producers are welcome - your attendance and input will be greatly appreciated. RSVPs to Stephen Bignell on 02 9478 1076 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Katie Davies is Chair of NSW Farmers Goat Committee.