The once-in-a-generation $25 million rebuild of the South Australian Dog Fence has reached a major milestone, with the first section of the work completed.
The project will ultimately see 1600-kilometres of fence upgraded to reduce the number of sheep being killed by wild dogs in the pastoral areas of South Australia and will have economic benefits of up to $113 million over 20 years.
Federal Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud today joined Premier Steven Marshall, South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone and Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey to mark the milestone on this vital infrastructure project which is being jointly funded by the Federal Government ($10 million), the State Government ($10 million) and industry ($5 million).
“Put quite simply, commercial sheep production cannot coexist with wild dogs,” said Minister Littleproud.
“Some parts of the South Australian Dog Fence are more than 100 years old and this historic rebuild will reduce the number of sheep losses in pastoral areas.
“The rebuild will reduce wild dog management costs for pastoralists by up to $97 million and is estimated to increase income from sheep sales by up to $69.7 million over a 20-year period.
“Agriculture will be a critical industry to help the Australian economy bounce back after COVID-19 and this game-changing project shows we are backing our farmers to lead the recovery.”
Premier Steven Marshall said the $25 million Dog Fence rebuild will help support regional South Australia.
“Our regions are a key economic driver for South Australia, and this rebuild will help support an industry which has had to deal with recent challenges such as drought and the ongoing impacts of coronavirus restrictions,” said Premier Marshall.
“This will be a big boost for our farmers who will save millions in pest animal management costs and enable farmers to safely restock properties with sheep.
“It will put more money into their hip pockets and local economies and will create jobs in regional South Australia.”
South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the fence is the longest continuous fence in the world and is crucial in protecting the South Australian sheep industry.
“This project will provide extra employment opportunities in our regions whilst limiting the impact of wild dogs on our $4.3 billion livestock industry,” said Minister Whetstone.
“South Australia’s component of the 5400km Dog Fence is about 2150km, with approximately 1600km of that length being more than a century old.
“We are committed to replacing this ageing fence to ensure its continued effectiveness and support pastoralists from the ongoing threat of wild dogs. This vital infrastructure is insurance for the industry’s future prosperity.”
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the project will reap multi-generational benefits across the pastoral industry.
“Many sections have been degraded over the years by kangaroos, emus, feral camels, wild dogs, weather events, sand erosion, rust and corrosion,” he said.
“Increasingly the dogs are finding their way further and further south and whether the producers in the south of the state realise it or not, without a good fence eventually all of the sheep in SA are under threat, not just those in the north.
“The investment is a tangible demonstration level of co-operation between the politically aligned Federal and State governments.
“Gone is the automatic position of ‘blame the Feds for everything’ and the spirit of common interest is producing an unprecedented level of co-investment in SA and I’m very proud to be part of that.”
Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the Dog Fence rebuild is one of the most significant agriculture projects in South Australia’s history.
“This is a project that regional South Australians have needed for decades,” said Mr van Holst Pellekaan.
“The Dog Fence rebuild will help support our agriculture industry which has been doing it tough recently and this project will not only protect sheep from wild dogs, but it will also drive economic growth. I am proud to be part of a government that continues to deliver for our regions.”
The first section of the project was completed on Curnamona Station, about 370km north-northeast of Adelaide.
Arrangements for the second stage of the rebuild, including contractors and material supply approvals are currently being finalised and are due to commence next month (August).
This second area of work will focus on 115 km of fence from Curnamona/Billeroo West corner through to the NSW border.
The section one rebuild featured:
- 11 km of wire mesh + 15 km of lap mesh
- 60.5 km wire
- 11 km barbed wire
- 2000 posts (combination of steel dropper and drill rod)
- 250,000 c-clips
The new fence is 1.5 metres high, and has been constructed using steel posts (although pine posts will be used in other areas where the substrate soil is particularly saline), 15/150/15 mesh with a 40mm footing on the outside to discourage any animal digging under the fence.
There will be slight variations to this standard set up to accommodate particular terrains along the route or in areas where there are additional pressures from other pest animals such as feral camels.