Hopes fading for Murchison vermin fence

29 Oct, 2014 01:00 AM
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If we don't get approval for the funding of the fence, pastoralists will have no choice but to walk

DESPITE lengthy discussions, the vermin cell fence extension still hasn't got off the ground.

"The dogs are still a problem," said Mt Magnet Shire president and Mid West Development Commission board member Ashley Dowden, Challa station.

"If we don't get approval for the funding of the fence, pastoralists will have no choice but to walk away.

"We are just holding our own, but it's not enough; the dogs are still coming."

The Murchison region vermin council needs an estimated $4.5 million to complete the fence.

Mr Dowden said there had already been a few stages completed, which were funded by Royalties for Regions for a total of $2.62m.

The project, which is still in a discussion phase, aims to join the existing No 2 vermin fence with the State barrier fence.

Mr Dowden said Regional Development and Lands Minister Terry Redman seems "not yet convinced'' of the need for funding, or the fence.

But he believes Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston and his department support the plan.

Mr Redman said the Mt Magnet shire, as leaders of the Murchison regional vermin council, had been discussing developing the fence with the Mid West Development Commission.

"The business case for this proposal has not been formally presented to me," Mr Redman said.

"This is because there are a number of critical project governance and implementation issues.

"The Mt Magnet shire and pastoralists need to address these issues before this proposal can be considered formally."

Mr Dowden said there seemed to be a concern, if the funding is given to the Mt Magnet council, all areas staging the fence would seek funding.

"I have suggested this should be used as a trial – if it doesn't work, then you would not have to offer it to the other areas," Mr Dowden said.

"If it does work, it's great news for everyone."

Mr Dowden said if Mr Redman did not approve a funding application to go to State cabinet, the council would need to look at other options, but warned the number of other options may be limited.

"We are doing everything we can," Mr Dowden said.

"If we don't get it approved, we will all go broke trying to stop the dogs, or we will simply have to walk away."

FarmWeekly

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