Work to extend a predator-proof fence along New South Wales’ Queensland and South Australian borders is underway amid hopes it will save farmers millions.
- The 742km extension to the NSW dog fence is underway, much to the relief of some farmers
- Wild dog attacks are estimated to cost farmers in the state about $22m per year and can be psychologically devastating
- Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall says the fence should turn the tide in what has been a “losing battle” with the predators
The 583-kilometre dog fence currently runs east from Cameron Corner, where the three states meet, to the border town of Hungerford.
The extension will see the barrier continue 420km east to Mungindi, which also straddles the NSW-Queensland border, as well as continuing 322km south along the SA border.
Once the additional 742km are complete, the $37.5 million fence will total 1,325km, making it one of the longest of its kind, according to NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall.
“Once complete [it] will run the equivalent length of Sydney to Bourke and back again, to keep wild dogs off farming properties,” he said.
“On average, for every one wild dog that we kill with baiting, trapping or shooting in the western division, there’s at least two more that come in to NSW from Queensland and South Australia.”
For Hungerford goat grazier Kylie Baty, the extension comes as a welcome relief.
“You can’t underestimate the impact and devastation [the dogs] are causing,” she said.
Paying a heavy price
Wild dog attacks are estimated to cost the livestock sector $22m a year in NSW and have pushed many, particularly sheep, producers to other industries.
“We have been fighting a losing battle,” Mr Marshall said.
“We just have to then concentrate on knocking down the dogs that are already in our state.”
Mr Marshall said gaining the upper hand in the fight against wild dogs should lead to increased land value and an improvement in productivity.
The fence is expected to be complete within 18 months and may also provide an economic boost to border towns along the construction route.
“We’ve made a commitment to source all of the raw materials and labour from rural and regional NSW,” Mr Marshall said.