News and Views

$1M funding for Esperance vermin extension fence

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WAFarmers welcomed the Federal Agricultural Minister, David Littleproud’s, decision to allocate $1 million towards the construction of the Esperance vermin extension fence.

“This is a great result; given it has been a 19 year slog to get this fence built. We welcome any funding commitment to get this fence built,” said Scott Pickering.

In September 2018, WAFarmers worked in partnership with the Southern (Ravensthorpe) and the Esperance Regional Biosecurity Groups (RBGs) and the local Shire Council’s, writing to the Federal Agricultural Minister to request a funding contribution of $1.5m from the current budget expenditure to be paid to the Esperance Shire, and to consider allocating a further $1m from forward estimates to be paid to the Esperance Shire in 2019-2020.

The partnership request was made in support of the WA Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food, Alannah McTiernan’s request for Federal funding support for the Esperance Extension, given the significant funding already given to Queensland for wild dog cell fencing projects.

The building of the Esperance Extension fence is absolutely critical for the management of pests like wild dogs to protect the sustainability of the sheep and cattle industries in the southern tablelands.

Wild dogs are causing significant damage to sheep and cattle businesses in this highly productive area of Western Australia and are a deterrent to many farmers who want to re-invest in the sheep industry.

The Esperance Shire has already committed $1.5 million and the Shire of Ravensthorpe has committed $280,000.

The WA Government has allocated $6.9 million towards the project, as part of its $28 million commitment to tackling wild dogs in agricultural and pastoral regions.

It is estimated the fence will cost approximately $12m to build, leaving a funding gap of $2.5m.

The project is currently in the final stages of environmental approvals, with work ready to get underway as soon as approvals are finalised.

This article was first published in The Fence.

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