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Dog Fence (Payments and Rates) Amendment Bill

Adjourned debate on second reading

(Continued from 12 April 2016)

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The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 16:06 :09 ): As this bill deals with the construction and maintenance of the fence, I just have a couple of questions for the minister, but I do not necessarily require an answer today. Can the minister advise the chamber the total length of the fence and the total length of the electrified portions of the fence? Secondly, has there been any progress in the monitoring of the electrified portion of the fence by radio telemetry technology, which would reduce the need for on-site monitoring?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 16:06 :50 ): I thank honourable members who have spoken on this bill and indicated their support for it. The major focus of the amendment bill is about ensuring that there are sufficient resources available to maintain the Dog Fence into the future and a minor administrative amendment which the Hon. Mr Dawkins explained adequately well to the house.

The Dog Fence protects the sheep industry from stock losses by preventing the entry of wild dogs to the southern pastoral areas. The Dog Fence Board, which administers the Dog Fence Act, requested it be amended by increasing the cap on the maximum amount payable to fence owners from $250 to $400 per kilometre of fence, and the cap on the amount that can be levied from $1.20 to a maximum of $2 per square kilometre of rateable land. Over the years the act has been in existence, inflationary pressures have driven the legislative caps in the legislation up to their limit, or close to their limit, thus necessitating us to revisit this legislation now.

These amendments will allow the board to make annual increments to payments in line with inflation for some time into the future, or until the act is next amended. As honourable members have said in their contributions, no issues were raised as part of the consultation with key stakeholders. I do welcome the support, and offers of support, from the opposition and minor parties for this legislation. The Hon. John Dawkins, in his contribution, reflected on the management of the lower house; there is nothing that I want to say about that situation.

The Hon. Robert Brokenshire has reflected on a few issues and asked the question, if the consultation was conducted in December 2014, why have we waited this five months to progress the legislation. It is because consultation is the start of the process; it is not the end point. It is the beginning of a process, and there are some procedural matters that need to be taken through in the form of drafting legislation, getting those drafts approved by stakeholders, governmental agreement and then taking it through cabinet necessarily. It takes a little bit of time, but I do not think the time from 2014 to now is too excessive to get legislation that, after all, finally no-one has an issue with.

The Hon. Mr Darley asked questions about the length of the fence and the length of the electrified portion and on the telemetry situation. I will have my advisers with me shortly. I will ask if that advice is easily at hand and I will give that in terms of our response at the committee stage. I look forward to the speedy passage of this bill.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage

In committee.

Clause 1.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: I can advise the Dog Fence is 2,178 kilometres long in South Australia, extending from west to Fowler's Bay on the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight north to above Coober Pedy and east to the New South Wales border above Broken Hill. It then joins with the New South Wales and Queensland dog fences for a total length of 5,400 kilometres.

My further advice is that the board continually aims to improve the management of the fence, and, where technology allows, the board will review and adopt the technology if it meets their requirements. That does not exactly answer the question the Hon. Mr Darley asked, so I will go back and seek advice about the electrified portion of the fence and the telemetry options that the board may have considered and not proceeded with.

Clause passed.

Remaining clauses (2 to 5) and title passed.

Bill reported without amendment.

Third Reading

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 16:11 :48 ): I move: That this bill be now read a third time.

Bill read a third time and passed.

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