A NSW government program to rebuild fences destroyed in summer bushfires is providing hope and purpose in an exceptionally tough year in the north of the state.
Rod Watters is one of those receiving a helping hand to replace more than 14 kilometres of eligible fencing on his property at Keybarbin Station on the Clarence River, south of Tabulam.
The costs he incurred to replace his fencing have been partly covered by a grant under the Supporting our Neighbours program, which is being delivered by Local Land Services.
The grants cover up to $5,000 per kilometre to replace fences that border public land damaged by fires from late 2019 to early 2020.
“When I spoke to Jess at the Lismore office, she was just fantastic! She was caring, concerned, and worked so hard to match all our information with the maps,” Mr Watters said.
“There was so much damage, it took some work to get it all right.”
Mr Watters had started to destock because of drought and said as hard as the year had been, it was a good decision as they didn’t have a lot of cattle to move.
“We were fortunate in a sense, because we had three fires over a six to eight-week period we were able to move cattle around and didn’t lose any cattle to fire.
“Our biggest issue was cattle getting stuck in the drying out dams. One of the women from LLS took off the designer boots and jumped straight in to help me pull one out,” he added.
Mr Watters’ property shares border fences with the Clarence Way and State Forest, and he saw water bombing aircraft Elvis make several visits to the Long Gully and Rappville fires.
Local Land Services staff are available to help landholders with their Supporting our Neighbours program applications.
Rebuilding boundary fences is a first crucial step for many fire affected farmers, who have destocked or are continuing to care for any remaining stock and pastures coming into spring and summer.
For Roger Wood at Bora Ridge, only a small section of fence was shared with the Roads and Maritime Service, but he is grateful for all the help available after losing one of his sons’ homes.
“All credit to Michael and all the team, they’ve been fantastic, and it has all been so easy to get it started,” Mr Wood said.
More information about the Supporting Our Neighbours boundary fence grants is available online at www.lls.nsw.gov.au or by calling 1300 778 080.