First post hammered in
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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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