Construction work has started on a cluster fence to protect livestock from feral pests at Talwood near Goondiwindi.
Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson said 142 kilometres of fence would eventually enclose more than 55,000 hectares at Talwood when the work is completed.
“Ultimately, four separate cluster fence projects at Talwood, Mt Carmel, Kindon and Gore will be completed with a combined length of 295 kilometres excluding feral pigs and wild dogs from 103,199 hectares of agricultural land,” the minister said.
“It will be effective in conjunction with existing control programs in the area including baiting, trapping and aerial shooting.
“Cluster fences can greatly benefit graziers as they can improve production by reducing predation by dogs and competition from kangaroos.
“They also provide conservation benefits through the control of weeds and pest animals, leading to improved pasture condition.”
The Talwood project was funded through the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative – financed jointly by the Queensland and federal governments.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce has welcomed the construction .
“We allocated $50 million for managing feral pests and weeds in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper – and this is another example of how we are helping the agricultural sector access better tools and control methods to protect their farms,” he said.
Minister Donaldson said Talwood was one of 37 cluster fencing projects planned under the Initiative in the coming months.
“The Talwood section has received $384,000 from the Initiative, with additional contributions being made by landholders to complete the fence,” she said.
“Goondiwindi Regional Council is coordinating funding and construction with the Waggamba Landcare Association and local landholders who are contributing $2700 per kilometre for chain link wire fencing at a minimum height of 1.5 metres.
“If the weather is kind, the fence should be complete in early November.”
Predation by wild dogs costs up to $67 million a year in livestock losses and disease spread in Queensland.
Goondiwindi Regional Council Rural Services Portfolio Representative Councillor Joan White commended the state and federal Governments for the funding to help these groups to help themselves.
“The future of pest control is definitely about better co-ordination, and this is another example of the benefits that can arise from working with your neighbours for landscape scale outcomes,” Cr White said.
Minister Donaldson said for more than a decade, the Queensland Government and many local governments had allocated significantly more resources to wild dogs than to any other invasive mammal.
“My department (DAF) spends about $3 million each year on wild dog initiatives, including maintenance of the wild dog barrier fence, and biosecurity officers who assist landholders meet their obligations through the provision of technical advice, and the supply of and training in the use of 1080,” she said.
“Additionally, $20 million in funding has been allocated to support landholders in drought affected areas in Queensland via the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.
“This includes $10 million funding from the Australian Government to support improved pest animal and weed management in drought-affected areas, and $5 million from the Queensland Government for wild dog and feral cat control and a further $5 million for wild dog fencing in western Queensland that was recently announced.”