State of­fers $4m to build dog fences in range­lands

Countryman - - NEWS - Rueben Hale

The State Govern­ment has opened a $4 mil­lion grant fund­ing pro­gram which will sup­port pas­toral groups to build ex­clu­sion fenc­ing to keep out wild dogs.

Pas­toral groups will be able to ap­ply for fund­ing grants for the con­struc­tion of wild dog ex­clu­sion cell fences around many pas­toral leases in the range­lands to help pro­tect sheep and goats.

The funds will con­trib­ute up to 50 per cent to­wards the cost of fence con­struc­tion, and will be given to up to three suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants who com­mit to main­te­nance of the fence and wild dog man­age­ment within the cell.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan said wild dogs were es­ti­mated to cause losses of $25 mil­lion a year to range­lands sheep and goat pro­duc­tion.

“Stock deaths and in­juries can be trau­matic for land­hold­ers and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties,” she said.

“Keep­ing wild dogs at bay with ex­clu­sion fenc­ing will en­able pas­toral­ists to re-es­tab­lish small stock such as sheep and goats on their pas­toral sta­tions, al­low­ing strug­gling pas­toral­ists in the south­ern range­lands to re­turn to a more fi­nan­cially and eco­log­i­cally sus­tain­able po­si­tion.”

Ms MacTier­nan said it would also help to re­build dwin­dling sheep num­bers and sup­port lo­cal meat pro­ces­sors.

“This grant pro­gram will also help us de­ter­mine whether cell fenc­ing can pro­tect and re­new small live­stock en­ter­prises, and de­liver a sus­tained ben­e­fit to in­dus­try and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties in WA,” she said.

Meanwhile, Pas­toral­ists and Gra­ziers’ As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Tony Seabrook said fund­ing to tackle wild dogs was wel­comed but did not go far enough.

“Wild dog num­ber have con­tin­ued to ex­pand and move fur­ther south and tack­ling this prob­lem re­quired a mul­ti­pronged ap­proach of fences, dog­gers, and bait­ing,” he said, and called for Fed­eral funds to help.

Wild dogs roam­ing in Wan­danya sta­tion in the East Pil­bara.

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