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The time is right for the State and Federal government to commit to the funding of wild dog exclusion fences in the Southern Rangelands according to The Nationals WA Candidate for Kalgoorlie Tony Crook.
Mr Crook said a recent visit to Western Australia by Queensland Cell Fence Commissioner Mark O’Brien presented the opportunity to spread the message about the success of wild dog exclusion fences in QLD which had revived the small stock industry and rejuvenated regional communities.
“Member for Kalgoorlie Wendy Duncan MLA flew Mr O’Brien to Kalgoorlie-Boulder to meet with pastoralists and also arranged for him to meet with the State Minister for Agriculture in Perth the following day,” Mr Crook said.
“The timing was perfect as the State Minister for Agriculture then met with Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce MP later in the week.”
While in Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mr O’Brien described how the use of Collaborative Area Management Systems to protect groups of pastoralists from wild dogs and other pests had brought hope and productivity back into the sheep industry.
“One pastoralist reported an improvement in lambing rates from seven per cent to 70 per cent in a single year and the environmental benefits of managing total grazing pressure were so evident that some graziers were able to sign up their preserved pastures for carbon credits,” Mr Crook said.
The cell fencing program in Queensland is supported by all levels of government – local, State and Federal which complemented the contribution of graziers in cash, construction and maintenance.
At The Nationals State Conference last weekend Wendy Duncan personally asked Barnaby Joyce to support the southern rangelands pastoralists in their quest to control wild dogs
“Barnaby Joyce was very positive about contributing federal funding and I took the opportunity to also request that our Ministers Redman and Grylls commit funds to the cause.” Ms Duncan said.
“This is a fight that our local pastoralists have been dealing with for 15 years to the point that there are no sheep in the Goldfields when we used to run about 600,000,” Ms Duncan said.
Mr Crook said while the State and Federal Governments continued to speak about economic diversification they should not ignore the industry that has thrived in the region for a century.
“Some of WA’s best wool came out of the Goldfields. There’s a statue on Hannan Street in front of the courthouse to mark the fact, and it’s something many local pastoralists would love to see again.”