First post hammered in

Cally Dupe and Zach RelphCountryman
WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan hammers in the first fence post of the fence extension.
Camera IconWA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan hammers in the first fence post of the fence extension. Credit: Cally Dupe

Nearly two decades of planning, campaigning and discussion came to a joyful end today when the first post of the State Barrier extension was hammered into the ground.

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan was on hand to take the fence post driver and do the honours as dozens of South Coast farmers, residents and WA dignitaries watched on.

Cascade farmer and Esperance Biosecurity Association chairman Scott Pickering, WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan, and Labor MLC Darren West.
Camera IconCascade farmer and Esperance Biosecurity Association chairman Scott Pickering, WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan, and Labor MLC Darren West. Credit: Cally Dupe

The first post at the fence’s current termination point, near Ravensthorpe, concluded Esperance region farmers’ 19-year campaign for the project’s $11 million development.

Once complete, the State Barrier Fence will stretch a further 660km from its current end point 25km east of Ravensthorpe, to north of Salmon Gums before terminating east of Esperance, near Cape Arid National Park.

Ravensthorpe farmer Jenny Chambers, Salmon Gums farmer Murray Ayers, Cascade farmer Scott Pickering, and West River farmer Rick Carpenter.
Camera IconRavensthorpe farmer Jenny Chambers, Salmon Gums farmer Murray Ayers, Cascade farmer Scott Pickering, and West River farmer Rick Carpenter. Credit: Cally Dupe

Cascade grain-sheep farmer Scott Pickering has long fought in favour of the extension, which has been subject to environmental approvals and funding issues, to nullify wild dog attacks on sheep.

“This 660km of fence construction fences off the farming land, gives the farming community confidence to go back into livestock,” he said.

“To our committee of farmers, we finally got there.”

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan hammers in the first fence post of the fence extension.
Camera IconWA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan hammers in the first fence post of the fence extension. Credit: Cally Dupe

The region’s sheep producers expect the development will safeguard flocks from ravaging wild dog, while grain growers hope it will protect valuable crops from emus.

Esperance Tjaltjraak Aboriginal Rangers will be involved in the first 8.5km of fencing in an effort to bolster the group’s contracting prospects.

Shire of Esperance president Victoria Brown, Cascade farmer and Esperance Biosecurity Association chairman Scott Pickering, WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Shire of Ravensthorpe president Keith Dunlop.
Camera IconShire of Esperance president Victoria Brown, Cascade farmer and Esperance Biosecurity Association chairman Scott Pickering, WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Shire of Ravensthorpe president Keith Dunlop. Credit: Cally Dupe

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud committed $1 million to the Esperance extension while in Ravensthorpe in March, raising its kitty to $9.5 million.

In April, the McGowan Government poured a further $1.5 million into the $11 project to cover the shortfall and WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson gave the green light to its environmental approval.

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