The NSW Nationals in Government have committed $209 million to support landholders to rebuild essential boundary fences destroyed by recent bushfires.
The new ‘Supporting Our Neighbours Project’ will help cover the cost of rebuilding boundary fences shared by private and public land managers, while supporting local farmers and businesses to recover.
Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said he was delighted to announce the funding with Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro.
“This is just what our farmers need,” Mr Marshall said.
“Under this new program, the government will provide a grant of $5000 per kilometre to farmers to rebuild boundary fences which adjoin State Government-owned land.”
To qualify, boundary fences must adjoin any State Government land, including:
- National Parks
- State Forests
- Crown Land
- Travelling Stock Reserves
- All public roads – local (council owned), regional, state and national
NSW Nationals Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson encouraged all eligible landholders to use local businesses and suppliers with this funding and support local jobs at this uncertain time.
“This is awesome news for those farmers who have experienced extensive damage to their boundary fences that border public lands,” Mr Anderson said.
“Secure boundary fences are essential for safeguarding livestock, managing biosecurity risks, minimising environmental damage and protecting against pests.
“Landholders will be supported, connecting them with dedicated fence coordinators to ensure funds and fences are delivered as soon as possible.”
The funding is also retrospective, so if a farmer has already replaced fencing, either wholly or partially, they can also receive a payment of $5000 per kilometre. It’s also completely uncapped, meaning every landholder will get paid $5000 per kilometre, no matter how many kilometres of boundary fencing has to be replaced.
“This is also an opportunity to upgrade your fencing and use fire resilient materials such as concrete fenceposts wherever possible,” Mr Marshall said.
“Last year, in the space of only a few hours the devastating Bees Nest fire at Ebor, which started in the Guy Fawkes National Park, swept through multiple properties and incinerated productive grazing land and hundreds of kilometres of vital farm fences.
“It breaks my heart to hear how difficult it has been for farmers since then to get help from the State Government to rebuild those fences which are vital for keeping livestock in and pest animals out – to those people I say that ends today.”
The NSW Government will be supporting landholders, connecting them with dedicated fence co-ordinators from Local Lands Services, to ensure funds and fences are delivered as soon as possible.
“Though unpopular with some of my colleagues I have taken up the fight to end that toxic relationship, by fighting to change the way public land is managed so the fire risk becomes less and when a disaster hits, the Government is there to help our hard working primary producers back on their feet,” Mr Marshall said.
Bushfire-affected farmers can apply for the program from Tuesday, via 1300 778 080 or online via www.lls.nsw.gov.au.