Central West fencers ask for $3m from $2m bucket

Hopeful cluster fencing groups in the Remote Area Planning and Development Board have applied for $3m from a $2m bucket


Sheep
Building capacity: A group of RESQ jobseekers fencing at Rotherfield in the Longreach district. Photograph supplied.

Building capacity: A group of RESQ jobseekers fencing at Rotherfield in the Longreach district. Photograph supplied.

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Ten central west producer groups are hoping it will be a case of second time lucky as they await news of the latest successful applicants of the Remote Area Planning and Development Board-administered cluster fencing program.

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Ten central west producer groups are hoping it will be a case of second time lucky as they await news of the latest successful applicants of the Remote Area Planning and Development Board-administered cluster fencing program.

All but one of the groups who missed out on funding under round one had re-applied when round two applications closed at the end of January.

The Palaszczuk government last May announced it was making another $5m available for exclusion fencing in Queensland but took until December to decide how it was going to divide the money.

RAPAD was allocated $2,350,000, which it decided to make available only to groups who’d missed out in round one, rather than opening it up to fresh applicants.

The 10 groups that have re-applied are seeking a little over $3m in funding, meaning some will be unlucky yet again.

According to RAPAD CEO David Arnold, recommendations from the assessment panel have been made and are before the board for consideration, and he expected an announcement by mid-March.

RAPAD chairman Rob Chandler reassured those groups the board was “doing everything it can to get more money for fencing here in the central west”.

“It was fantastic to have Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Byrne here a few weeks ago and both indicated cluster fencing was a worthwhile investment so hopefully the funding keeps coming, not just for those that missed out in this round. but for any future applicants.”

He said it was great to see so many people still keen to get back into sheep.

“The success of the round one program is fantastic, not only seeing more sheep but more jobs as a result, and this additional funding will keep the momentum going,” he said. “The long term goal is for this funding to be the catalyst for growing jobs and achieving significant improvement in the profitability of regional businesses, rural and non-rural.”

Effects of rounds one and two combined are expected to include bringing nearly 400,000 sheep back to the region, translating into $9.4m in direct shearing, crutching and lamb-marking wages a year.

Six long-term unemployed people are now in jobs, thanks to the federal government’s community development program administered by RAPAD Employment Services Queensland (RESQ).

Cr Chandler said another 10 jobs were expected to be generated with the uptake in both privately and publicly funded clusters and through council schemes.

RAPAD round two cluster fencing fast facts

  • 10 clusters of 34 producers applied
  • Will build 1075 km of fencing and protect 469,078 ha
  • Would see a $7.5m private contribution or a 271pc ROI for government
  • Will provide an expected 176,577 additional sheep into the region as sheep numbers grow from 135,157 sheep to 311,734 after fences
  • Will generate an expected $3.74m in direct shearing, crutching and lamb marking wages per annum from the new expected total sheep numbers
  • Represents approximately 35pc public and 65pc private investment, based on the maximum funding of $2700/km. On average a vermin-proof exclusion fence costs $7000/km
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