Vermin Cell closer to finish

25 May, 2014 01:00 AM
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Debbie (left) and Ashley Dowden, Challa station, with Agriculture Minister Ken Baston.
It was a good chance to bring this to the attention of the Minister.
Debbie (left) and Ashley Dowden, Challa station, with Agriculture Minister Ken Baston.

THE Murchison Region Vermin Cell is one step closer to completion after a meeting in Cue this month bought the project to the attention of Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston.

The biannual Cue Parliament attracted support from a number of State MPs, including Mr Baston, Local Government Minister Tony Simpson and Mining and Pastoral Member Mark Lewis.

A funding application for the Murchison Region Vermin Cell, a project which aimed to join the existing No 2 Vermin Fence with the State Barrier fence, was heavily discussed.

Mt Magnet Shire president and Midwest Development Commission board member Ashley Dowden, Challa station, said the application had gone through the Directors General Reference Group and was waiting for a date to go to Cabinet.

"It was a good chance to bring this to the attention of the Minister," Mr Dowden said.

"He indicated he was concerned about the length of time it was taking for the submission to get to Cabinet and said he would keep an eye on its progress."

Mr Dowden said the vermin cell project would be the most significant injection of funds into the agricultural industry in the region for many decades and would deliver a turning point on how pastoralism in the southern rangelands was perceived.

He said it was great to have Mr Baston attend the meeting, especially given he was due to meet with Federal and State Ministers in Canberra.

"It is good to see the region getting the respect it deserved from the Government," Mr Dowden said.

Mr Baston's spokesperson said the Minister fulfilled a long-standing commitment to attend the Cue Parliament.

"Mr Baston met with key representatives of the Southern Rangelands and addressed issues surrounding the looming pastoral lease rollover and extended dry spells in the Murchison," the spokesperson said.

"And within that area is the region where the wild dog bounty is being held, and over 100 wild dog scalps have been handed in so far."

Mr Dowden said delegates discussed the progress of the wild dog bounty trial.

"Mr Baston was keen for an update on the progress of the bounty," he said.

"Although still in its early days, it seems to be working extremely well.

"The bounty was the initiative of the Minister who listened to industry and went against advice from his department.

"It is just another tool in the shed and pastoralists have to continue to be committed to using all available wild dog control methods if success is to be achieved."

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