Protecting farmland from the ravages of wild dogs and invasive pests will be the target of round three of the Palaszczuk Government’s Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the $6 million in new funding would deliver approximately 2000 kilometres of cluster fencing across Queensland.
“We know wild dogs pose a huge problem for producers in western and southern Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“That’s why my government has allocated more than $36 million for the construction of cluster fencing since 2015.
“This latest round of funding delivers on our election commitment to provide $5 million for cluster fencing and is complemented by an additional $1 million allocated for cluster fencing in the last State Budget.
“It will build on the great work done under the first two rounds of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative which saw almost 7000 kilometres of cluster fencing built on 423 properties in priority sheep growing areas.
“A robust and thriving sheep and wool industry will help revitalise some of our regional centres, bringing more money and more job opportunities into them.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the funding was focused on providing cluster fencing within sheep and wool producing areas with the goal of returning large numbers of sheep to those regions.
“The dramatic fall in sheep numbers in Queensland from 17 million in 1990 to just two million in 2016 contributed significantly to a decline in regional jobs and the regional economy,” Mr Furner said.
“However initial data coming out of the completed cluster fence projects indicates that lambing rates and sheep numbers have increased dramatically in most areas.
“Reports from the ground indicate lambing rates have increased from 40 per cent to upwards of 90 per cent and sheep numbers have almost doubled in some areas.”
Mr Furner said the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative targeted the effective management of invasive plants and animals in Queensland.
“Invasive plants and animals impact on the lives of all Queenslanders and cost Queensland’s agriculture industry more than $600 million annually in lost production and in control costs.
“They also degrade natural resources including remnant vegetation, threaten conservation of biodiversity and interfere with human health and recreational activities.
“Through this initiative, funding is allocated to support regionally agreed cluster fencing arrangements in areas with high wild dog density, as well as other invasive plant and animal control programs across Queensland.”
Applications for the funding can be made until 5.00pm Monday 23 November 2018 through eligible organisations including regional natural resource management groups, incorporated industry organisations and local governments.