A large-scale and complex infrastructure project in some of the most remote and isolated areas in Australia, the NSW Wild Dog Fence Extension project has experienced delays because of the impacts of COVID-19, drought, floods, complex approvals requirements and unexpected finds during the assessment process. Despite these unforeseen issues, the project has made substantial progress in a number of areas including:
- mapping of the proposed fence alignment
- assessments for biodiversity and cultural heritage
- procurement of a materials panel and construction panel, both of which involve businesses from Western and regional NSW
- engagement with local landholders and stakeholders, including the Aboriginal community.
- construction of a 15 km priority pilot site.
The project is continuing work on the approvals process for both alignments which includes engaging relevant stakeholders and Government agencies in NSW and across state borders.
The NSW Government has run three successful tenders for the project which were for the manufacture and supply of fence materials, the materials and construction of a 15 km priority pilot site, and to undertake the construction of the up to 790 km extension. The combined value of these tenders was around $30 million. The project team are continuing to work with the successful businesses regarding the manufacture and supply of fence materials, and construction of the extended fence, prior to construction commencing. 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 tenders run to date for the project.
The design of the fence has been developed in consultation with the NSW 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 and may be reviewed following the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The project team will work and engage with landholders and stakeholders to deal with existing fences and requests for additional gates and so forth.
Priority pilot site
In the second half of 2020, a 15 km priority pilot site was constructed which involved replacing the existing wild dog fence near Hungerford. This allowed the project team to test and evaluate its systems prior to the main phase of construction commencing. 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.
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