"You can work together and rebuild" after fires

NSW Government neighbour fencing support

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The NSW Government has committed $209 million to help bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands.

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Fencing contractors Jason Pearson and Joey Edmonds with Cindy McRae at her neighbour's fence. Photo: Cindy McRae

Fencing contractors Jason Pearson and Joey Edmonds with Cindy McRae at her neighbour's fence. Photo: Cindy McRae

Just nine months ago bushfires burned out much of Cindy McRae's cattle property at Jeogla in the New England.

She was left with parched land and damaged fences.

"The fire started in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park in September, then it burned down to Georges Junction on the Macleay and came back up to burn the Styx River State Forest, which in total burned 2832 hectares of my property," Mrs McRae said.

"It was devastating, that's not the word to describe it, we were in the middle of the worst drought in 100 years and it tipped us over the edge, it was like the last straw, then COVID-19 hit."

But with support from neighbours like Andrew Sewell and grant like the Supporting our Neighbour's public land boundary fencing program, Mrs McRae has been able to start rebuilding again.

She has applied for 2km of fencing support in the program as 33ha of her property that borders state forest was affected by the fires.

"It not only helps us protect our stock from feral dog problems and kangaroos eating pasture but it's helping employ local people who clear the fence line and pull down the fences," Mrs McRae said.

"It helps the local economy that has been hit by fire, COVID-19 and drought. With support like this and from our neighbours you can work together and rebuild."

The NSW Government has committed $209 million to help bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands.

Private landholders who share a boundary with public land and were impacted by the fires in northern and southern NSW in late 2019 and early 2020 are eligible to receive up to $5000 per kilometre to contribute to the replacement of damaged boundary fences.

The grant covers fencing that borders national parks, Forestry Corporation land, traveling stock reserves, Crown reserves, tenured roads and leases and roads managed by Roads and Maritime Services or Local Government.

Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said already $9 million had been approved in the program with more than 863 kilometers of fencing completed. There is an additional 1000km that has been funded with hundreds of farmers across the state taking up the grants.

"The beauty of this scheme is even if you have reached into your pocket and replaced boundary fences with your public lands neighbour you can still get the funding," Mr Marshall said.

On average people who lost fencing lost a few kilometres of boundary fencing, but there is no minimum or maximum amount you can apply for under the scheme. This program will be open until July 2021, with staff in Local Lands Services regions dedicated to processing applications.

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