Stock route to be CHRC priority

STEVE Fraser is no rookie to the droving game - in fact he's been on the stock routes for longer than he would care to admit, moving cattle and living through what he said was the worst drought he had seen.

With the Central Highlands Regional Council taking a proactive approach to the management of the region's stock routes, Mr Fraser said a plan to keep cattle numbers down on the stock route was "smart".

"Over there in the Central Highlands, 1000 head of cattle is more than enough for those facilities," Fraser said.

"Probably ideally you would only want about 800.

"There are narrow routes, the water facilities and the lock-up facilities - that's the number one priority - not overrunning those."

THE new co-ordinator of ranger services Andrea Hewitt addressed councillors at Wednesday's CHRC general meeting and said when looking into the future management of the local routes, numbers may need to be dropped.

"We will probably have to look at decreasing use on the stock route," Ms Hewitt said.

Mr Fraser said decreasing numbers was not going to hurt any drovers looking for feed and water for their cattle - instead, it would increase the potential help the area could provide each crew.

"You can keep your numbers down," he said.

"In New South Wales, they make them move 10km a day, when you've got weak cattle you have to back that up though.

"If you've got a heap of drovers in that country, everyone will get a feed."

With the "worst drought" Mr Fraser has seen in all his years on the land gripping the nation, he said councils making action to preserve routes was "good news".

Councillors also discussed the possibility of utilising the stock route for rural events, such as cross country horse races, to gain more funding to update the facilities on the route.

Discussions were also had about offering land adjacent to the Emerald Airport to drovers.

Topics:  cattle central highlands regional council drought droving

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