The South Australian State Government released a report into the South Australian Dog Fence which outlines a return on investment of up to 48 per cent to replace sections that are more than 100 years old at a cost of $25 million.
The BDO Econsearch report was jointly commissioned by the State Government and the South Australian Dog Fence Board to seek a cost benefit analysis for the upgrade of the Dog Fence.
South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the report states replacing sections of the ageing Dog Fence would generate a net benefit to the state of up to $120.3 million over 20 years.
“A number of sections of the Dog Fence are more than 100 years old and in urgent need of replacement to stop the incursion of wild dogs into the South Australian pastoral sheep zone,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The SA Government, along with industry, commissioned this report to further understand the economic benefits to the state of providing a major capital investment into the Fence.
“This is not an issue that has arisen overnight. In fact, over the past 16 years, less than five per cent of the South Australian Dog Fence was replaced, mostly funded by the Commonwealth Government and farmers themselves.
“The sorry state of the Dog Fence and the $25 million cost of fixing it is a legacy of years of mismanagement and neglect.
“We have been out talking to pastoralists in communities along the Fence and working closely with Livestock SA, the Wild Dog Advisory Group and the Dog Fence Board on an investment plan for a $25 million fix.
“The Fence remains the most important asset protecting the South Australian sheep industry and has been significantly damaged by kangaroos, emus, feral camels and wild dogs, exacerbated by drought.
“Replacing the Dog Fence is the South Australian livestock industry’s highest priority.”
The key findings of the report include:
Under the industry’s preferred $25 million Dog Fence replacement option, the positive impact on Gross State Product is expected to be $1.8 million in the first year, $8.1 million in the third year and $5.3 million in the 20th.
Additional jobs created from the fence upgrades are expected to be 14 in the first year, 63 in the third year and 27 in the 20th.
A new Dog Fence will reduce wild dog management costs for pastoralists by up to $97 million.
Sheep enterprise sales income is expected to increase by up to $69.7 million.
If no replacement occurs, pastoralists’ investment in wild dog management is expected to quadruple by 2038 from $2.3 million to between $10.6 million and $13.95 million.
These results are modelled on pastoral sheep enterprise income and sales data for the past five years.
This article was first published in The Fence magazine.