MORE than $4 million has been allocated to Western Australian pastoral fencing projects aimed at boosting sheep and goat numbers in rangeland areas.
Four pastoral groups will share in $4.03 million in government assistance to protect stock from wild dog attacks.
The pastoralists claim the fencing projects will enable them to lift small stock numbers to more than 400,000 – a more than 20-fold increase.
The McGowan Government last week announced the allocation of grants of $2 million to the Kalgoorlie Pastoral Alliance Cell, $986,000 to the Southern Gascoyne Rangelands Cell, $594,000 to the Murchison Regional Vermin Cell and $450,000 to the Murchison Hub Cell as part of the Rangelands Cell Fencing Program.
The program, co-funded by the State and Federal governments, supports pastoralists’ efforts to build cell fences in the rangelands to help protect sheep and goats.
The successful applicants are required to contribute a minimum of half of the cost of fence construction and will commit to ongoing fence maintenance and wild dog management within the cell.
WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said keeping wild dogs at bay with exclusion fencing will help to re-establish sheep and goat numbers and return to a more financially and ecologically sustainable position in the rangelands.
“Grants through the Rangelands Cell Fencing Program will provide support to pastoralists who are spread throughout the southern rangelands, from the southern Gascoyne and Murchison to Kalgoorlie, to help reinvigorate our pastoral lands and drive jobs growth across the regions.
“This project shows the benefit of a strong collaboration between industry and State and Federal governments,” she said.
“Successful trials should provide confidence to the pastoral sector and private financiers to fund future cell fences.”
The funded sites vary in size and location, and pastoral groups will report back to industry and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development on building and maintaining the fence, and stock numbers and wild dog control.
Industry will use these reports to assess whether cell fencing is a suitable economic approach to protecting and renewing small livestock enterprises and delivering a sustained benefit to industry and regional communities in Western Australia.
More than 1500 kilometres of fencing will completed with the grants announced.
Kalgoorlie Pastoral Alliance Cell – awarded $2 million
- Eleven pastoral leases covering 2,439,432 hectares.
- The fence will be 950km in length when complete.
- The Kalgoorlie pastoral leases are virtually fully destocked of small livestock due to the ongoing presence of wild dogs.
- Once the cell is complete and wild dogs within the cell have been removed the pastoralists estimate they will be able to carry more than 100,000 small stock.
Southern Gascoyne Rangelands Cell – awarded $986,000
- The 340km Southern Gascoyne Cell will encompass 665 916 hectares across seven pastoral leases south of Carnarvon.
- Currently those pastoral leases are carrying about 14 700 small stock (sheep and/or goats).
- Once the cell is complete and wild dogs within the cell have been removed the pastoralists estimate that they will be able to carry 74 000 small stock.
Murchison Regional Vermin Cell – awarded $594,000
- The Murchison Regional Vermin Cell is a large, partially completed cell which builds off the State Barrier Fence. When completed it will encompass 52 properties and 6 536 198 hectares.
- The Murchison Regional Vermin Council recently obtained a $550 000 non-contestable grant from the state government for stage two of the completion of the cell (108km). This was in addition to $2.667 million in government funds previously received in 2010/11 and 2012/13.
- The new funding for 326km of new fence will complete the 1400km MRVC cell fence.
- Most properties are currently destocked due to the constant pressure of wild dogs.
- Once the cell is complete and wild dogs have been removed, pastoralists estimate each lease will be able to carry between 2500-7000 sheep or goats. That equates to 165,000-220,000 small stock (average 3-4000/property).
Murchison Hub Cell – awarded $450,000
- The Murchison Hub Cell sits within the Murchison Regional Vermin Cell fence.
- It is the smallest cell being funded and covers 227,101 hectares on four pastoral leases.
- The funds will be used to build 180km of fence. This will join up with the 80km of fence that the pastoralists have already built at their own cost to create the enclosed cell.
- The completed cell should see stocking numbers increase from the current 3750 head to about 10,000 head.
Click here to see a map of the rangeland fence cells proposed.
- Source: Minister for Regional Development, Agriculture and Food.