Grid program delivers for farmers

Article image - Grid program delivers for farmers Grids on Billybingbone and Twin Rivers Roads improve road safety and assist drought affected farmers.

Over the past two years Brewarrina Shire, New South Wales, has used $644,000 in funding from the Drought Communities Program to remove 139 unsafe and defective grids providing a direct benefit of over $1.3m to local farmers in the Shire.

Under the Local Government Act the cattle grids on shire roads require approval from Council and are normally the landowner’s responsibility to purchase and install, and then maintain or replace any grids that are unsafe. 

However, Brewarrina Shire recognised that there was a huge legacy of defective grids on shire roads and farmers were struggling to meet their obligation to maintain them in a safe condition. 

Council took the view that assisting farmers with the cost of replacing grids would provide not only a direct benefit to their drought ravaged farms but reduce the potential liability from their ownership of a defective grid. 

The project was advertised as a fund replacement of the defective grids as a ‘donation to land owners’ and received no objections from the community. Council sought Government Assistance under the Drought Communities Program to remove defective grids and either fund the full cost of replacement or contribute a similar cost for exclusion fencing.

Over the past two years, the project has provided a direct benefit of over $1.3 million to local farmers in the shire. In addition, and as an added bonus, the grids were sourced locally and installed by local contractors creating a double benefit to the community. 

The Road Safety Grid Program has again received funding this year with the potential for another 30 grids to be replaced.

Mayor, Phillip O’Connor said, “It is pleasing to address a real issue with road safety and at the same time provide a direct benefit to drought affected landowners throughout the shire. 

“This council has significantly increased expenditure on shire roads and on top of that has improved safety with a grid replacement program that directly benefits our rural landowners.”