Highway fencing talks
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.