With the once-in-a-generation rebuild of South Australia’s Dog Fence to commence in the next year, Orroroo pastoralist Geoff Power has been announced as the new chair of the South Australian Dog Fence Board.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone announced the new South Australian Dog Fence Board while meeting with pastoralists at an ageing area of the Dog Fence near Ceduna.
The 2019-20 State Budget allocated $25 million to the Dog Fence rebuild, with the project being a partnership with the State Government, Federal Government and the livestock industry.
Mr Power, who also chairs a national wild dog organisation, will lead the Dog Fence Board made up of Christobel Treloar and Jock MacLachlan, both occupants of land affected by the Dog Fence, Peter Lawrie from the Far West Dog Fence Boards Association and Mount Eba Station pastoralist Peter Whittlesea.
“After years of neglect by the former Labor Government, the State Government is getting to work to rebuild 1,600 kilometres of the 100-year old sections of the South Australian Dog Fence to greater protect our pastoralists from the severe impacts of wild dogs,” said Minister Whetstone.
“I’m pleased to appoint Geoff Power as chair of the Dog Fence Board as he is an experienced livestock leader who has the skills to support the State Government as we undertake this huge project.
“We are about to begin consultation on the rebuild of the Dog Fence to ensure pastoralists and those directly impacted by wild dogs are involved in the planning process.
“With work expected to begin on the fence next year, key industry stakeholders are being invited to form a Dog Fence Rebuild Committee which will provide strategic direction and lead the engagement of members of Local Dog Fence Boards and other pastoral stakeholders in the process of rebuilding the Dog Fence.”
Member for Flinders Peter Treloar, whose electorate has the Dog Fence running through it, said pastoralists were looking forward to the rebuild to reduce wild dog numbers inside the fence.
“I’ve had anecdotal feedback from farmers along ageing parts of the fence about hundreds of sheep being taken by wild dogs,” said Mr Treloar.
“The State Government has recognised the urgency and the need to act on the ageing fence and this rebuild will change the lives of pastoralists and communities for the better.
“We’ve already got seven government funded wild dog trappers on the ground supporting farmers, but the rebuild will provide the ultimate protection for our livestock industries.”
Livestock SA president Joe Keynes said industry welcomed the State Government’s approach to the Dog Fence rebuild.
“We are highly supportive of the detailed consultation process proposed by the government,” said Mr Keynes.
“This is an important investment and we need to make sure it’s designed properly, using the right materials.”
Earlier in the year, the State Government commissioned a cost benefit analysis for the Dog Fence rebuild which showed the positive impact on Gross State Product is expected to be $1.8 million in the first year, $8.1 million in the third year and $5.3 million in the twentieth year.