Learn about up coming Western Local Land Services events and activities here.
View this email in your browser

Western region update

February 2015

Local Community Advisory Groups need members

We continue to move towards a new structure for Local Land Services Western Region, which will see staff operating from these three community service delivery areas to better support the needs of the region.

In keeping with this move, the Western Local Board wants to hear from more people who are keen to become involved in the three new Local Community Advisory Groups - particularly people who can represent the interests of the horticulture and cropping industries and landholders in the far west.

The three Local Community Advisory Groups are:
  1. Broken Hill, Tibooburra and Wilcannia - chaired by Louise Turner of “Goodwood Station,” White Cliffs
  2. Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina and Wanaaring - chaired by Stuart Mosely of “Manuka,” Cobar
  3. Balranald, Wentworth, Hillston and Ivanhoe - chaired by Angus Whyte “Wyndham Station” Wentworth.
The three Local Community Advisory Groups will hold a joint meeting in Broken Hill on 24 and 25 March.
There will also be three Aboriginal Community Advisory Groups, representing the same areas.

Visit our website to download the Terms of Reference and Expression of Interest forms. Anyone interested should email Erlina Compton or phone 02 6881 3435 this week.

Achievements in our first year

Local Land Services Western Region has identified key achievements in its first year in a publication recently released statewide. Mr Tom Hynes, Chair of Western Local Board said "The Western Local Region team has achieved great results for both the local environment and the agricultural industry in the past year. We have been able to put the local back into local services, with support provided by local people who are familiar with the landscape and natural resources of the region and are committed to protecting and nurturing those resources." Download the 2014 Achievements Report.

Two new Biosecurity Officers (rangers)

Robynne Wells-Budd, Cobar  

With nearly 14 years experience in the industry, Robynne Wells-Budd joined the Cobar office this month as Senior Biosecurity Officer (formerly known as ranger).

Robynne previously worked in the Central West region based in Nyngan and is familiar with the area having grown up on Tara Station near Nymagee. She has also carried out emergency management throughout the Western Division during flood situations.

Taking a back to basics approach, Robynne is looking forward to building relationships with the landholders in the region. “What I love about my job is working with landholders. Getting out there and assisting them with testing and baiting. I feel my role is to help the landholder in whatever way I can,” she said.

Robynne has been a member of the Feral Animal Aerial Shooting Team for the past 12 years and has implemented a number of programs to reduce the feral pig population resulting in a significant drop in numbers. “Feral pig predation on livestock and the spread of leptospirosis and brucellosis to both livestock and to landholders are big problems facing the region,” she said.

Andrew McKinnon, Hillston  

The second new Biosecurity Officer is based at Hillston, where he fills a position that was vacant for five months. 

Andy McKinnon has already met many landholders in the Hillston/Ivanhoe region and been busy listening to their concerns. Andy has a background in animal health and worked with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries as a stock inspector along the Murray and in North West Victoria. He also has experience in rangeland management in Alice Springs.

With Andy on board, the Western Local Region is now back at full strength in the southern district, with Biosecurity Officers at Hillston, Balranald, Buronga and Wentworth.
Biosecurity Officers not only dealt with pest animal and insect control, but also plant health and disease. Andy’s region covers an area from Hillston and Ivanhoe through to Cobar and across to Balranald.

"I've always liked working with producers with the aim of helping them solve problems and issues on farm and I'm looking forward to getting out there and providing assistance to the landholders in the district,” he said.

Animal management issues

Wild dog baiting program - register now for autumn

Western Local Land Services conducted an aerial wild dog baiting program along with wild dog fence this week. The program is in response to heavy rains along the dog fence, north of Packsaddle. This is a joint project, coordinated in partnership with the Wild Destruction Board, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Farmers Federation.

We are now planning our autumn baiting programs. If you would like to be included in this planning, please contact your local Landcare or pest management group or call your local Biosecurity Officer to find out if there's a group near you.

Managing kangaroo numbers
Kangaroo numbers across the region are high at the moment, as is the case throughout NSW. If kangaroos (or other native animals) are causing economic hardship, you can apply to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for an Occupier’s Licence that will help you control kangaroo numbers in a legal, responsible manner.

This application process includes tagging kangaroos under non-commercial harvest provisions of the National Parks and Wildlife ActOwner occupiers should contact their local NPWS office to discuss the nature and severity of the issue.

The Office of Environment and Heritage website has more information, including the application form for an Occupier's Licence.

An important reminder about moving sheep 

If you are planning to buy sheep or take on the agistment of rams, ewes, lambs or wethers, there are a few things you must check. 

Firstly, you need to find out if the sheep are coming from a Regional Biosecurity Area for Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD).

If the answer is YES:
  • Request a Sheep Health Statement (SHS) from the vendor/owner of the sheep and proceed with movement.
  • Upload the movement onto the NLIS database and provide a copy of the SHS to your LLS office within seven days of the movement.
If the answer is NO – Check online to see if the sheep meet the RBA entry requirements. If the sheep do not meet these requirements the movement is not recommended.

Producers are encouraged to email Charlotte Cavanagh, Veterinary Officer with NSW Department of Primary Industries for further information or phone her on (02) 6830 0003.

Who are your rams working for?

Are your rams working for you or are you working for them? If your rams are infected with Ovine Brucellosis (OB) you may be feeding rams that are not producing lambs. 

OB is a serious problem for sheep producers across the entire Western Local Region. Recent OB testing has shown that some flocks have around 40% of  rams infected with OB – meaning that almost half their ram flock may not be performing.

OB is a bacterial infection that affects the fertility of both rams and ewes. Rams carry the disease and unfortunately there is no cure so infected rams must be culled.

The good news is that Local Land Services Western Region Biosecurity Officers and NSW Department of Primary Industries veterinarians are ready, willing and able to assist with management of OB in your flock. 

Contact your LLS Biosecurity Officer to find out the most effective way to check for OB and eliminate this disease from your flock.

Western Local Land Management Awards

Chance to recognise local efforts

Entries in this year's Western Local Land Management Awards are now open. 

Groups and individual landholders, including schools, community groups and farming systems organisations, are welcome to apply and staff are available to help you with your nomination. Winners from the Western Local Region will be entered into the State Landcare Awards.

Applications close on Monday 20 April. 
Download an application form or phone your local office for details.

There are five categories in this year’s awards:
  1. Individual land carer 
  2. Innovation in sustainable farm practices
  3. Innovative community group 
  4. Indigenous land management 
  5. Junior land care team.

Upcoming events

Do you know what you can clear without approval?


Free information sessions are being held around the region to help landholders understand what they can do without approval under the revised Native Vegetation Act.

Sessions will cover: RAMAs; regrowth provisions and self-assessable codes for clearing invasive native species; clearing paddock trees in cultivation; and thinning native vegetation.

RSVP by email or phone Kerry Johnson on (02) 6836 1575. 

All sessions will be from 9.30am to 1.30pm:

Bourke: Wednesday 25 February, Diggers on the Darling
Cobar: Thursday 26 February, Cobar Golf Club
Broken Hill: Friday 27 February, Musician’s Club
Wentworth: Monday 2 March, Wentworth Services Club
Ivanhoe: Tuesday 3 March, Ivanhoe RSL Club
Hillston: Wednesday 4 March, Ex-Servicemen’s Club
(staff from Central West Local Land Services will also be at this session)

You can download information about Native Vegetation legislation  or call Karen Kneipp on 0429 918 475 with specific questions.

Stepping up to manage country workshops

Aboriginal land managers are invited to free workshops in March at Brewarrina and Menindee with a focus on land management techniques and cultural heritage. Attendees will hear presentations, take part in a property tour and yarning sessions and experience bush food and entertainment. The free workshops will be over two days, with all meals and accommodation provided.

Information shared will include:
  • Effective land management techniques, including fencing and managing feral animals
  • How to increase profitability and productivity
  • Accessing services and support
  • Improving environmental outcomes and long-term sustainability
  • Protecting and preserving Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • The knowledge that sits with other Aboriginal land managers.
Merriman Shearing School, Brewarrina
Monday 2 March (12pm - 4.30pm), followed by dinner and entertainment 
Tuesday 3 March (9.30am – 1pm)

Menindee Local Aboriginal Land Council and Kinchega National Park, Menindee
Thursday 5 March (9.30am – 4.30pm), followed by riverside bush tucker dinner at Appin station
Friday 6 March (9.30am – 1pm)

To book your place, email or phone Fiona Harris on (02) 6870 8627
If you want to find out more, call: Blackie Gordon on 0428 607 536 or Ronni O’Donnell on 0409 334 956

Australian Government mobile service van visits

Find out about Australian Government services and payment for rural families when the mobile service van visits these locations in our region:
Menindee: Thursday 5 March, 10am-3.30pm, near the Community Hall, Yartla St
Wilcannia: Friday 6 March, 11am-2pm, near Baker Park, Reid St
Find our more online or call 132 316.

Photo: Dogs in the Grass, original by Chris Ferguson, 2014 Photo Competition
We welcome your feedback about this newsletter. Limited hardcopies are available by contacting your Local Land Services office. From next year, this newsletter will only be circulated electronically.

Local Land Services Western Region
Freecall: 1300 795 299