WA interest in QLD cluster fencing strategy

Member for Kalgoorlie inspects South West NRM strategy to protect stock from wild dog attacks


Agribusiness
South West NRM chairman Mark O'Brien on an inspection tour of the effectiveness of cluster fencing as a strategy to combat wild dog attacks in the Tambo region with Western Australia's state Member for Kalgoorlie, Wendy Duncan.

South West NRM chairman Mark O'Brien on an inspection tour of the effectiveness of cluster fencing as a strategy to combat wild dog attacks in the Tambo region with Western Australia's state Member for Kalgoorlie, Wendy Duncan.

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South West NRM's cluster fencing strategy to combat wild dog attacks came under scrutiny by Western Australia's state Member for Kalgoorlie recently.

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The cluster fences beginning to dot the landscape of western Queensland may be replicated in Western Australia's southern rangelands, thanks to a visit by the state Member for Kalgoorlie to South West NRM's projects at Tambo and Wyandra recently.

Wild dogs are decimating pastoral businesses in Wendy Duncan's region as much as they are in Queensland's south west, but she had been sceptical of calls for fencing as a strategy.

"I wasn't entirely convinced it would work," she said. "The biggest difference is the size of properties.

"In Queensland the average size seems to be about 30,000 acres and it's productive country, whereas in Western Australia's pastoral areas, property sizes range from 300,000 to a million acres.

"Much more fencing would be required."

The question of who would pay to maintain fences was another sticking point.

Governments in Western Australia have also objected to feral fencing in the Goldfields region on the grounds that it was supporting commercial enterprises, according to Ms Duncan.

She believes that what she saw in Queensland's south west answers such objections.

"There is benefit not only to individual commercial enterprises but community-wide," she said.

"Shearing teams can return and that supports business and retail, as well as pastoral productivity.

"The government says sheep are all gone out of our landscape because of drought but what I saw in western Queensland helps with that too.

"Fences not only give the opportunity to control wild dogs and feral pests but to control whole grazing pressure.”​

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