The Western Division of NSW is an economic powerhouse which generates in excess of $1 billion in earnings each year. It comprises some 32.5 million hectares, representing 42% of the land area in NSW, and is populated by 52,830 people.
The Western Division of NSW stretches from the Murray River at Balranald in the south, to the Barwon River at Mungindi in the north, and west to the South Australian border. With an average annual rainfall of 200 mm in the west and 400 mm in the east, the Western Division is ideal pastoral country. The Division is largely Crown Land held under perpetual leasehold, and administered by Crown Lands - NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The major agricultural product in the Western Division is wool; however, improved production and land management practices have permitted the diversification of enterprises on properties, allowing pastoralists more flexibility. As a result the Western Division's 1,700 perpetual leaseholdings produce a surprising array of agricultural products including premium quality prime hard wheat, wool, cereals, oilseeds, cotton, lamb, mutton, beef, citrus, dairy products, rice, grapes, vegetables, goat and kangaroo meat and exotic breeds of sheep.
The Western Division Council has identified their priority areas to be:
To progress action to enhance business continuity:
• Ongoing advocacy for improved utilities and local services, particularly telecommunications, postage, health delivery and banking services
To progress action to manage and mitigate risk:
Managing and preventing feral and invasive pests and weeds
o Ensuring timely construction of the dog exclusion fence extension and equitable arrangements for the added maintenance costs that will need to be implemented
o Ongoing monitoring to ensure effective kangaroo management, including opportunities to develop improved market opportunities
o Advocating improved management of Hudson Pear as a priority
o Maintaining effective working and consultation relationships with the Western LLS – particularly in pest and weed management
Roads and transport
o Ongoing advocacy for adequate Government funding to maintain road conditions at a standard that ensures barriers to heavy vehicle access are minimised and connectivity is maximised
o Ensure heavy vehicle regulation is fit for purpose
o Ongoing advocacy for Government to progress the commitments under the Lightning Ridge Voluntary Surrender Scheme, particularly the return to grazing of land not required for mining.
o Progress issues around $2 companies and opal mining in the Western Division
Water accessibility and sustainability
o Management of water resources to mitigate drought and future drought preparedness, particularly issues for the management scheme of the Darling River.