Move to fence Goldfields stations

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

Kalgoorlie pastoralists are taking matters into their own hands, planning to construct a wild dog fence around 13 of the region's stations.

The 1000km bio-security fence is part of a bid by the newly formed Kalgoorlie Pastoral Alliance Pty Ltd, formed by pastoralists to fight back against the scourge of wild dogs that has decimated the region's sheep industry.

Once famed for its wool production, there are now virtually no sheep left in the Goldfields and pastoral consultant Ross Wood believes without a fence the future of pastoral leases in region is grim.

"No one runs sheep out here at the moment (but) they are all people who could potentially get back into some form of sheep, either a meat sheep or Merinos, if we could get this project up and running," he said.

"It has to be done if pastoral business is to keep going. If it doesn't happen the cost to the community is quite serious."

The group of pastoralists have completed a cost-benefit analysis for the fence, which would cover properties as far south as Kambalda and north to Menzies, but are keeping quiet about the final figures.

The alliance is now discussing how to pay for the fence and Mr Wood believes the Government should offer support.

"We intend to take that to Government and say this is what we need," he said. "Ultimately the State Government is the landlord and they own all these properties.

"It's not really within the capacity of the pastoralists to build the fence themselves, we can do a lot of the work, but there needs to be an enormous amount of investment buying back stock and doing all those things they need to do."

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