The South Australian Dog Fence
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (15:12): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, representing the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, a question about the Dog Fence.
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: I understand that BDO EconSearch undertook a study to determine the net benefit of replacing approximately 1,600 kilometres of the Dog Fence, at a cost of $25 million. After conducting a cost-benefit analysis, the report found that replacement will generate a net benefit to the state of up to $120.3 million over a 20-year period. I further understand that the minister has indicated that replacing the Dog Fence is the South Australian livestock industry's highest priority. My questions to the minister are:
1. Can the minister advise when the government intends to begin replacement of the priority sections of the Dog Fence and how long completion will take?
2. What consideration has been given to the electrification of parts of the fence that require replacement?
3. What consideration has been given to providing remote monitoring of existing and future electrified sections of the Dog Fence?
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) (15:14): I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in regional South Australia, and in particular the outback pastoral areas and the Dog Fence. It is a responsibility of the Minister for Primary Industries, but I will make a few comments. Clearly, for some of the details that the honourable member asked for, I will have to take those on notice and refer them to my colleague.
In relation to the Dog Fence, it is a particularly important part of infrastructure to protect our pastoral industry. It was neglected during the last 16 years of the former government. It was not seen as a priority for them. In fact, they cut funding to the trappers and shooters. In fact, they really turned their back on that part of our pastoral industry.
Of course, once you let the dogs through, they start to breed, they start to grow in numbers and then they are much more difficult to control inside the Dog Fence in the more heavily populated areas but also where there is more vegetation and more cover for those particular wild dogs. In fact, every now and again they even get down as far as some of the settled country just north of the Barossa Valley towards the top of the river and into the Mallee area. The river does provide a pretty good natural barrier, but there are some particularly productive grazing properties specialising in sheep between the Dog Fence and the River Murray.
It is a vital bit of pastoral infrastructure that has been there for many, many years. I am not sure how many members opposite have been there. I know the Hon. Kyam Maher would have driven past it and through it when he is on the way to the APY lands, but I am not sure how many other members opposite have been to it. The Hon. Mr Wortley sticks his hand up. It is good to see that he was out there at some point. But it is a very important part of our pastoral infrastructure.
I thank the honourable member for his questions. We know it has a tremendous economic benefit. Parts of the electrification and some of the details he has asked for are really the responsibility of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to take that on notice and refer it to the Hon. Tim Whetstone.
30 April 2019
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment): The Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development has advised the following:
1. I refer the honourable member to the media release issued on 7 March 2019 titled '$25 Million fix required for Ageing Dog Fence.'
2. In total, 115 kilometres of the 2,150 kilometre South Australian Dog Fence was replaced over 16 years under the former Labor government. Of this, 68.5 kilometres is electric fence, which now needs to be replaced because it is too low and because pastoralists don't believe it is effective.
3. Based on the advice received about the failure of the electric fencing installed under the former Labor government I would not envisage replacing sections of the Dog Fence with electric fencing.