Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall turned the first sod on the project near Hungerford on Monday, as the NSW Government delivered on a key election commitment in support of the state’s far west.
“It is fantastic to see shovels in the ground for the construction of the dog fence, which is another key election commitment of the NSW Government being delivered,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The wild dog fence runs along the NSW and Queensland/South Australian borders and is critically important to landholders and local communities in Western NSW and around the state.
“Once the extension is complete the NSW Border Wild Dog Fence will have more than doubled in length to 1325kms, which will be the longest in the world and a titanic tool in the fight against pests and predators.
“I was in Broken Hill before the last state election to announce this project and it was great to be in Hungerford to see stage one of construction underway.”
Mr Marshall said the fence played a vital role in mitigating the impacts of wild dogs and was critically important to Western NSW and the entire state.
“Wild dogs are a plague on primary producers and their local communities, causing more than $22 million in damages and lost production in NSW every year,” Mr Marshall said.
“NSW continues to be on the right side of history, building the right kind of barrier along state borders which once complete will run the equivalent length of Sydney to Bourke and back again, to keep wild dogs off farming properties.
“Not only that, it will help to stimulate local and regional economies that have been devastated by the impacts of the drought and COVID-19, with around 85 jobs expected to be created through direct, supply chain and flow on benefits.
“Even better is that stage one construction will be done with materials that have been sourced from Bourke, stimulating the local and regional economy.”
The project has been heralded as a game-changer for landholders in the state’s far west, who say wild dogs are the biggest issue, bigger than any drought.
“You can’t underestimate the impact and devastation they are causing,” Hungerford landholder Kylie Baty said.
“We are doing all we can to manage wild dogs and while the current dog fence does a great job, this extension will be a game-changer. We are grateful to the NSW Government for delivering this project and it is wonderful to see construction commence.”
The first stage of construction for the project is a 15km priority pilot site at Hungerford, with the rest of the build to follow on a staged basis.
The NSW Government will soon call tenders for the main construction and earthworks for the project and encourages local businesses and contractors to apply.