NSW Wild Dog Fence Extension project

March 2021

Background

The NSW Government has committed to extending the NSW Border Wild Dog Fence (commonly known as the dog fence) by 742 km which it will fund at an estimated cost of $37.5 million. The commitment comes following a feasibility study (first published January 2019) that was commissioned by the Border Fence Maintenance Board and funded by Local Land Services.

The study determined there would be considerable benefits to be had by extending the fence by 420 km in the east adjacent to Mungindi and 322 km in the south to just short of the Murray River. The fence is currently approximately 583 km in length and erected along parts of the NSW/Queensland border and NSW/South Australian border.

Work underway

In 2020, the project made significant progress despite the impacts of COVID-19, drought and floods. In 2021, the project team are continuing to work toward the main phase of construction commencing with the NSW Government taking steps to assist businesses and contractors from Regional NSW to be involved in the project.

Mapping and fence design

The mapping of the proposed alignment along the NSW and South Australia border, and the NSW and Queensland border, has been completed. For the NSW/South Australian alignment, the extended fence will start south of Broughams Gate, approximately 110 km north of Broken Hill, and finish near the Murray River, while for the NSW/Queensland alignment, the extended fence will start at Hungerford and finish at Mungindi. The project team is continuing to work and engage with landholders and stakeholders around the finer details such as the end points for the extended fence and how to manage rail and road crossings.

The design of the fence has been developed in consultation with the Border Fence Maintenance Board. The fence will be made from 15/150/15 exclusion wire and be 1800 mm high with 900 mm plastic coated chain wire buried to 300 mm deep and overlapping the 15/150/15 by 300 mm. Heavy duty steel posts will be placed every five metres with a drill rod strainer post every 250 metres. Some sections of the fence will be custom designed to suit the terrain. The project team will work and engage with landholders and stakeholders to deal with existing fences and requests for additional gates and so forth.

Assessments and Approvals

The assessments that are required for this project will be carried out along a narrow corridor of the proposed fence alignment (including access tracks). The project team have engaged the services of three qualified consultants to carry out the assessments for biodiversity and Aboriginal cultural heritage along the proposed alignment, with the assessments for Aboriginal cultural heritage also involving Recognised Aboriginal Parties and local Traditional Owners. Desktop analysis and field assessments commenced in 2020 and are continuing in 2021.

The project team commenced work on its Environmental Impact Statement in 2020, which included carrying out robust community consultation with face-to-face and online community meetings, email, phone and hardcopy feedback opportunities. Work will continue on the development of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement which is expected to be lodged with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment later in 2021, when it will then be put on public exhibition for further comment.

It is important to note that construction will not commence until the required assessments and approvals have been completed and received.

Procurement and construction

The NSW Government is committed to involving as many local and regional NSW businesses in this project as possible, something that has been reflected in the tender process. In 2020, the NSW Government called three tenders for the project which were for the manufacture and supply of fence materials, the materials and construction of a 15-kilometre priority pilot site, and to undertake the construction of the 742-kilometre extension. The combined value of these tenders was around $30 million.

The construction of a 15-kilometre priority pilot site allowed the project team to test and evaluate its systems prior to the main phase of construction commencing. The pilot site involved the replacement of the existing wild dog fence near Hungerford and construction was completed in the second half of 2020. As a result of the exercise, there will be improvements to construction techniques, contractor engagement and the consideration of cultural heritage and Aboriginal engagement. Highlighting the NSW Government’s commitment to involving local businesses, all the materials for the pilot site were sourced from a business in Bourke while a number of Aboriginal contractors from Enngonia worked on the fence construction.

Resource library and further information

A number of resources have been developed to inform stakeholders of the project, answer some general questions and keep them updated as it progresses.

If you’d like further on the information above or project more generally, contact the project team on the details provided. Project stakeholders will continue to be provided the latest information, updates and opportunities to be involved through a range of communication channels. To receive these updates, send the project team an email to subscribe.

Phone: (02) 5852 1215 (Mon-Fri during business hours)
Email: wilddogfence@scs.nsw.gov.au
Website: www.lls.nsw.gov.au/WDF

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