Dog Fence rebuild reaches major milestone

Chair of the SA Dog Fence Board, Orroroo farmer Geoff Power.
Chair of the SA Dog Fence Board, Orroroo farmer Geoff Power.

The highly touted Dog Fence rebuild has reached a major milestone, with the first section of work now completed.

The $25 million project will see 1600 kilometres of fence upgraded to reduce the amount of sheep killed by wild dogs in pastoral areas of South Australia

Wild dogs rip nearly $89 million a year from the Australian economy.

Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said commercial sheep production cannot coexist with wild dogs.

"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."

Earlier this year, the state government announced a wild dog bounty as part of its $21 million drought package to coincide with the dog fence rebuild.

Landowners and pastoralists have been offered $120 per wild dog killed on their property.

Premier Steven Marshall said the project is a key economic driver for the state.

"... 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," Premier Marshall said.

"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."

The rebuild of the Dog Fence is being funded by the State Government ($10 million), the Commonwealth Government ($10 million) and the livestock industry ($5 million).

By the third year the project is expected to create up to 63 full-time jobs

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said the pastoral industry will reap the rewards of the rebuild for generations to come.

"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."

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 in August.

This second area of work will focus on 115 km of fence from Curnamona/Billeroo West corner through to the NSW border.