REPAIRS to SA's ageing Dog Fence appear certain to go ahead no matter the outcome of Saturday's election, after Labor promised to provide $10 million in funding.
Confirmed by a Labor spokesperson today, the pledge is contingent on the state government and industry contributing a combined $15m towards the $25m repair bill.
Labor's plan matches the $10m in funds allocated to fence repairs by the federal government earlier this month. At the time of that announcement, the state government promised to provide $10m, with the industry levy system contributing the remaining $5m.
Labor is yet to confirm if its contribution would be part of a broader regional or agricultural funding package, while the Coalition said it would provide $1m in immediate funding, followed by $9m allocated from the yet-to-be-legislated Federal Drought Future Fund from July 1.
The bipartisan support shown will help alleviate any concerns progress towards improving the Dog Fence would hinge on the federal election result.
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Sections of the fence are more than 100 years old and no longer provide an effective barrier to stop wild dogs moving south. Pastoralists and northern sheep producers have been reporting alarmingly frequent dog sightings and lamb losses in recent years.
The financial benefits of an effective Dog Fence were laid bare in BDO EconSearch's Economic analysis of the South Australian Dog Fence report released in March, which found the $25m joint investment could deliver up to $120.3m in economic benefit.
At the Coalition announcement earlier this month, state Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said the Dog Fence was a crucial part of supporting and protecting the SA sheep industry.
"Replacement of the 1600km of ageing fencing will ensure its continued effectiveness and support pastoralists from the ongoing threat of wild dogs," Mr Whetstone said.
Labor has pledged to establish a $400m Farm Productivity and Sustainable Profitability Program, which it said would address the same issues at the Drought Future Fund.