THE Dog Fence Board could potentially increase its annual revenue by about $350,000, to keep up with maintenance, but it would involve expanding the rate paying area to include an additional 600 ratepayers.
That is the proposal currently being put out for feedback by the board and Livestock SA.
Under the proposal, the additional income would be used to carry out a Dog Fence replacement program, which would be in addition to the $25 million Dog Fence Rebuild Project already underway.
While the $25 million project is rebuilding the highest priority and most degraded 1600 kilometres of the 2150 km long South Australian Dog Fence - due for completion in 2024 - further maintenance and rebuild work will still be required.
Dog Fence Board chair Geoff Power said prior to the Rebuild Project, the Dog Fence was a mosaic of different wire types, with some sections 100 years old.
"A lot of the fence was made from patches upon patches of mesh," he said.
"We ended up with wild dogs as far south as Cleve, Burra and Morgan.
"The $25m generously contributed by industry, and the Commonwealth and state governments for the Rebuild Project has provided the Dog Fence Board with a unique opportunity to address the long term needs of the fence.
"The board must now look at how it can continue fence replacement beyond the Rebuild Project, to make sure the fence doesn't reach such a condition again."
To ensure the Dog Fence does not return to pre-rebuild condition again, the Dog Fence Board has worked closely with Livestock SA to review the revenue the Board receives for the inspection and maintenance of the fence.
Under the present funding model, the board inspects and maintains the fence, but is not financially able to replace the Dog Fence as it ages.
The review carried out by The Dog Fence Board and Livestock SA identified an opportunity to expand the Dog Fence rateable area to include all landowners within 150 kilometres of the fence - but not beyond the River Murray - and an extra two Hundreds to the south, with the aim to raise an additional $350,000 a year for the fence's upkeep.
The proposed new rateable Hundreds include land near Streaky Bay, Wudinna, Kimba, Jamestown and Burra and would encompass 600 new landowners.
The Dog Fence's primary funding comes from rates applied to land holdings greater than 1000 hectares within the Dog Fence rateable area, and from a component of sheep sales contributed through the Sheep Industry Fund.
Every dollar the board receives through these two sources is matched by the South Australian government.
"The total revenue received by the Dog Fence Board each year is $1.17m," Mr Power said.
"This only just allows us to make sure the fence is inspected fortnightly and repaired as needed.
"On top of that we have to manage challenges such as sand drift and flood damage."
Landowners who have more than 10 square kilometres (1000 hectares) in the expanded rateable area would pay $1.70/sqkm, with a minimum rate of $245 a year.
A consultation paper on the proposed rate expansion estimates that 98 per cent of the 600 new landowners would be on the minimum rate of $245.
It is proposed that landowners in the existing rateable area would continue to pay $2/sqkm with a minimum rate payable of $475.
The two-tiered model would be replaced by a single rate applying to all landowners in the rateable area at the completion of the rebuild.
The Dog Fence Board is seeking feedback from interested stakeholders, including present and proposed ratepayers, on the proposal to expand the rateable area.
"I encourage anyone with an interest in the long-term management of the Dog Fence, whether that's in land management and livestock production, or more generally, to comment on this proposal," Mr Power said.
"The future-proofing of the South Australian Dog Fence must be one of the highest priorities for the northern areas of our state."
Livestock SA president Joe Keynes said the organisation was not in favour of increasing or imposing new levies, "except where there is real benefit to the industry".
"We believe the proposed expansion of the Dog Fence rateable area will ensure the Dog Fence Board can maintain the fence for the long term," he said.
"It is vital that we all play our part in protecting SA's agriculture industry."
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