The purpose of the fence extension is to provide protection from the impact of vermin incursions from pastoral land to agricultural industries in the shires of Ravensthorpe and Esperance, as occurs for other agricultural areas developed in an earlier period.
The proposed extension is a response to concerns expressed by industry and communities in the region regarding the risk of periodic emu and kangaroo damage to crops and the impact of wild dogs in limiting livestock enterprises. Community commitment to the proposed extension is substantiated through agreement to contribute million towards the total cost of the project when approved.
The Esperance Extension Advisory Group (EEAG) has been formed to advise DAFWA in development of the proposal through development and approvals processes. If approved, the EEAG will continue to advise on the construction phase. Key stakeholder organisations are represented on EEAG. The processes of the EEAG and DAFWA for this proposal are open and transparent.
Barrier fencing is an established practice for pest animal control and is often used for agricultural and conservation benefits by excluding feral pest animals. The proposed Esperance Extension is a non-lethal method for long-term control of the impacts of pest animals to agriculture in the area.
The multiple values of the Great Western Woodlands and adjacent areas are well-recognised, as are the concerns expressed about potential impact on these values. Similarly, the heritage values in the area are also well recognised.
The proposed SBF extension will carefully consider these values by undertaking detailed surveys of the proposed alignment in order to inform the approvals processes. The environmental surveys are about to commence.
The proposed alignment for the Esperance Extension is adjacent to private property boundaries extending from the current SBF termination point to Cape Arid National Park. Options to extend the fence to the coast are being carefully considered. The intent is for the fence to be located on crown land where there are existing chained fire control corridors.
In response to possible animal welfare concerns raised within the EERG, a smaller group of EERG members has been formed to optimise the proposed alignment in some areas. The purpose of this is to minimise the potential for migrating emus to be trapped.
The final positioning of the proposed fence will be determined following detailed assessment and mapping of environmental and cultural values along the alignment. Re-alignment of the proposed fence on private boundaries will be considered where unavoidable constraints are encountered on crown land.
The surveys and approvals processes will occur over the next 12 months. DAFWA will continue to provide updates as this work progresses.