High­way fenc­ing talks

Broome Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Cally Dupe

Kim­ber­ley lo­cal gov­ern­ments have voted to in­ves­ti­gate fenc­ing parts of the Great North­ern High­way af­ter statis­tics re­vealed 225 dead cat­tle had been re­moved from the road dur­ing the past four years.

But a ques­tion mark hangs over who would pay for fenc­ing costs, which Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mates could be $5000 dol­lars a kilo­me­tre in the re­mote re­gion.

A to­tal of 25 car crashes in­volv­ing cat­tle were recorded along the 220km stretch of Great North­ern High­way be­tween Broome and Derby be­tween 2014 and 2016 in­clu­sive.

The Shires of Broome, Wyn­d­ham-East Kim­ber­ley, Halls Creek and Derby-West Kim­ber­ley this month voted to cre­ate a strat­egy iden­ti­fy­ing where ac­ci­dents had hap­pened along the high­way.

The strat­egy would also in­ves­ti­gate fund­ing mod­els for fenc­ing all or part of the high­way, a pop­u­lar thor­ough­fare for tourists, pas­toral­ists and lo­cals mov­ing be­tween towns.

Speak­ing on be­half of the four lo­cal gov­ern­ments, Kim­ber­ley Re­gional Group chair­man Chris Mitchell said cat­tle wan­der­ing onto the road posed a sig­nif­i­cant risk to mo­torists.

He said the group was tar­get­ing a 1400km stretch of high­way be­tween Sand­fire Road­house, 322km south of Broome, and the WA and North­ern Ter­ri­tory bor­der, 42km east of Ku­nunurra.

“One of the pur­poses of the strat­egy is to iden­tify cat­tle hot spots along the en­tire length of the Great North­ern High­way, which will be tar­geted for fenc­ing,” Mr Mitchell said.

Mr Mitchell said the strat­egy would in­ves­ti­gate the risks as­so­ci­ated with stray cat­tle, try to come up with an agreed ap­proach and then in­ves­ti­gate fund­ing mod­els.

“Ad­di­tion­ally the strat­egy will at­tempt to in­clude em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties that could be de­liv­ered through the ini­tia­tive,” he said.

“Par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to fenc­ing main­te­nance, which has his­tor­i­cally been a stick­ing point for stake­hold­ers.”

Mr Mitchell said the four Kim­ber­ley Shires were “lim­ited” in their abil­ity to fund the work.

KPCA chair­man David Stoate said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would wel­come fund­ing for fenc­ing along Great North­ern High­way as long as it in­cluded money for fence main­te­nance.

Cat­tle on the high­way into Derby.

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