Projects and programs

We support local people to improve the health and productivity of their area.

Regional landholder and Aboriginal community survey now open!

Landholders and members of the Aboriginal community now have the opportunity to inform Western Local Land Services of what they perceive to be the most pressing issues in the Western region through the Regional Landholder and Aboriginal Community survey.

The survey which has specific questionnaires for landholders and the Aboriginal community, focuses on a wide range of topics and issues, with the answers to inform Western Local Land Services of what programs and projects are of most importance, as well as identify regional trends.

Surveys were posted out at the end of September and the survey can be completed and returned during October and November. In addition to completing the survey and returning by the reply-paid envelope, the survey can also be completed online.

  • Click here to complete the Regional landholder survey
  • Click here to complete the Aboriginal community survey

As an appreciation, $20 will be donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service on behalf of every landholder who completes and returns the survey. While those that complete the survey online will also go into the draw to win a cash prize.  

Similar surveys were carried out in 2017 and 2014, and by comparing the results of the 2020 survey to previous surveys, it will give an insight into the way the region is changing and what that means for future service delivery.  

All information is confidential and the survey is not compulsory. 

Western Local Land Services will be contacting landholders and the Aboriginal community over September, October and November with the opportunity to complete the survey. If you have any questions about it, contact our Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) Officer, Silvana Keating on 0427 661 264 or email.

This project is supported by Western Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

Operations Plan for 2020-21

Western Local Land Services continues to work towards the goal of ‘strong communities, resilient landscapes and competitive agriculture’. This annual Operations Plan is an overview of the projects and activities that will be undertaken to contribute to this goal in the 2020-21 financial year.

For further information contact Operations Manager, Andrew Hull on 0427 919 964 or email.

Wild dogs in the Western region — 2020 vision

Wild dogs are a significant problem in Western NSW, causing significant losses to livestock enterprises, with consequent economic and social impacts.

There can also be considerable impacts to the environment and cultural heritage values of the region, through predation on small to medium sized native fauna species, which may be endangered and important totems for Aboriginal communities.

In 2020, a number of new and innovative programs and projects, focussing on wild dogs, have been rolled out across the Western region, following a successful funding application through the Australian Government’s ‘Communities Combatting Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought’ Program.

Overview of the programs and projects

1. Seasonal predator programs — large scale aerial and ground baiting program, targeting wild dogs, foxes and cats, carried out in autumn and spring. Landholders that are not involved in a pest management group or Landcare group are encouraged to join their local group and participate in coordinated programs.

2. Infrastructure project — funding will be used to establish a bait handling facility at Bourke, similar to the facility already established in Broken Hill. This will allow better use of resources to reduce travel and associated expenses by our Biosecurity Officers.

3. Pest animal expos — due to COVID-19, these expos have been postponed. In the interim, the Western NSW Pest Chat Webinar Series has been developed, with episodes scheduled for December and February and March next year. View our Events page for further details.

4. 'Western Tracks' collaring project — the Western Tracks collaring project is a collaborative research project to improve the management of wild dogs and feral pigs in flood and associated country of the Paroo, Cuttaburra, Warrego and Darling River systems in the Western Local Land Services region.

In this project, wild dogs and feral pigs will be trapped, collared with a GPS tracking collar and released from where they are trapped. The movements of the collared animals will be monitored for up to a year after release while routine control activities are carried out within the region. Data gathered through this process will provide information on:

  • the movements and interactions of feral pigs and wild dogs in the landscape
  • how feral pigs and wild dogs use the landscape at different times of the year
  • how control of wild dogs can be better targeted to avoid dog bait uptake by feral pigs
  • effectiveness of routine control programs.

Private and public landholders, pest animal management and Landcare groups, NSW Farmers Wild Dog Coordinator, and agencies, will work collaboratively to deliver the project that has been driven by local landholders.

Field work underway with feral pigs collared

In September 2020 after much planning, training and in receipt of the required approvals, field work commenced with the collaring of feral pigs. In the initial phase, 12 feral pigs were collared and are currently being tracked as they roam around the landscape. The feral pigs were caught in cage traps which cause no harm, and they were collared humanely to approved animal welfare and ethics requirements.

Further collaring was undertaken in November with another three feral pigs collared. Another round of collaring will be undertaken in late November.

Wild dog collaring to commence autumn 2021

The collaring of wild dogs was originally scheduled for spring 2020, however due to a number of factors this has been postponed until autumn 2021. These factors include:

  • Seasonal conditions — the target area and surrounding areas has received a significant amount of rainfall this year resulting in plenty of feed and water being easily accessible by animals across the landscape (domestic, native and pests) which has meant access to the sodden land and trapping the target animals in the target area is difficult.
  • Minimal signs of pest animal activity — the project team set-up 21 traps in the target area for the purpose of collaring wild dogs and over the first few days of inspections there was no wild dog activity. These traps were inspected twice daily by members of the project team, often accompanied by a local landholder at a considerable amount of time and effort, and at a significant expense, as the round trip to check the traps is several hundred kilometres over rough terrain.
  • Wild dog breeding — many bitches have had pups at the start of spring and as a result are staying for long periods in dens. Due to the good seasonal conditions, the male dogs are not venturing far from the dens in search of food or water, hence making it unlikely they will be trapped.

With the planning continuing, it is important landholders report any pest animal activity, so the project team have the best knowledge of where the dog activity is before the wild dog collaring resumes in autumn 2021.

How can landholders get involved?

All landholders in and around the target area are encouraged to be involved. Ways for landholders to be involved include:

  • participate in the project by completing an access agreement form. It is recommended that anyone in the project area complete a property access agreement form even if animals are not being collared on your property to allow quick recovery of collars
  • informing Western Local Land Services of sightings and other opportunities pertaining to wild dogs and feral pigs
  • record all sightings and related information in FeralScan.

Landholders are encouraged to continue to perform routine pest animal management as per normal and contact Local Land Services if collars are retrieved or found. However, during the first two months following trapping and collaring, it is recommended landholders release collared animals from traps to ensure more accurate data can be acquired. It is also preferred in this initial two months, that animals trapped with the collared animals are also released as an entire mob to limit effects on pig behaviour in the initial data collection.

Following the two months only collared pigs should be released and the others should be controlled. Animals that are tagged can be controlled and should be reported to the number printed on the tag. Local Land Services will communicate updates to all landholders and stakeholders involved in the project regarding this two-month timeframe.

For further information, contact Western Local Land Services Senior Field Officer, Claudia Bryant on 0448 796 109 or email. or your local biosecurity officer. 

5. 'Trapping' program — landholders will have access to professional wild dog controllers to support the control of wild dogs on their property. Some resources on the program are below.

To enable efficient training of four wild dog trappers, a training event for wild dog collaring has been arranged at Moomba SA by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. The training will be held during February/March 2021 with wild dog collaring in Western NSW to follow immediately afterwards.

6. 'White Spaces' project — this project aims to inform all landholders of their pest animal responsibilities, and use a range of
strategies to incorporate non-participants into group programs.

These six programs and projects were developed following consultation with the pest management groups and relevant stakeholders, with planning getting underway in late 2019. All landholders are encouraged to be actively involved, to share
knowledge and experience, to incorporate into future management of wild dogs and other pest animals. 

For further information on the programs or projects, or managing pest animals more generally, contact your nearest Biosecurity Officer, Local Landcare Coordinator or Regional Pest Animal Coordinator, Phil Baird on 0417 776 218 or email.

The Land Services Program

The Land Services Program offers a new approach to property planning and rural enterprise mentoring in the Western region, and is suitable for landholders interested in building their capacity, innovation and learning from their peers and industry experts.

The Program, which began in 2018 with three businesses in a pilot program and continued with another six businesses commencing in 2019, is currently finalising the intake for its 2020 cohort.  

The Program runs over two years or eight 'quarters' and operates under a case officer approach, which pairs participants with one of our staff members who will provide support and guidance through the program.   

In addition, a range of mentors have been identified to match the particular enterprise and landscapes of the participants.  

Participants receive access to training and services estimated to have a total value of $16,000 over the course of the Program.

Included in this is $10,000 for use in the second year of the Program to support capacity building activities, engaging expertise and information systems which align with the goals and properties of their business.

Mentors may be utilised as part of the training budget to provide daily advice, one on one support or to demonstrate enterprises and opportunities to participants.

For further information about the Program have a read of the following materials:

Or contact:

  • Team Leader-Agriculture, Gemma Turnbull on (02) 6870 8632
  • Team Leader-Land Services (acting), Mitch Plumbe on 0408 241 200
  • Senior Land Services Officer-Agribusiness, Tanisha Shields on 0447 642 131
  • your nearest Western Local Land Services office.

The Program is a joint initiative between Local Land Services and Soils for Life.

Russel Harland Memorial Scholarship

The Russel Harland Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a tertiary student who displays strong personal, community and educational commitment to rural or regional areas, with particular reference to the Western region of NSW.

The scholarship has run since 2006, and in that time, nine students have gained employment, with three still employed with Western Local Land Services.

The scholarship is awarded to assist the student to advance their educational qualifications and personal skills so that they can contribute to future biosecurity, agricultural and natural resource management outcomes and build upon the expertise within the community of the Western region.

The scholarship will provide:

  • A one-off amount of $5,000 which will be paid in two instalments
  • four weeks of paid work
  • one year guaranteed field officer position.

Eligible students will be approaching their final year of study. Relevant courses must be of a Bachelor level and may include, but are not limited to; Agriculture (Ag Science, Rural Science, Animal Science, Agribusiness, Ag Economics), Veterinary Science, Emergency Response and Management, Natural Resource Management, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and GIS and remote sensing.

If you have any questions contact Operations Manager, Andrew Hull on 0427 919 964 or email.

Key Investment Priorities

The key areas for investment, through on-ground works and training, are:

Productive industries and adaptable, connected communities

  • adaptable and resilient land managers
  • sustainable and productive agricultural industry
  • Aboriginal people connected to country, culture and heritage.

Healthy and resilient landscapes and aquatic systems

  • healthy and resilient landscapes
  • healthy and resilient aquatic systems.

Adaptive governance, decision making and management

Western Catchment Action Plan

The key investment priorities were developed with considerable input from local communities through the development of the 2013-2023 Western Catchment Action Plan (CAP). The CAP provides direction for natural resource management in the Western Local Land Services region.