Over the past five years, both the State and Federal governments have provided financial support to Queensland sheep producers to assist with the construction of exclusion fencing to minimise the impact from feral animals, especially wild dogs.
AgForce applauds the efforts of both governments as their assistance in the roll-out of fencing has been instrumental in rebuilding the confidence and ability of Queensland’s graziers to once again operate a sheep and wool business.
But the job is not yet done. AgForce is calling on the Federal and State governments to each contribute an extra $5 million a year, to be matched by landholder contributions, to ensure more exclusion fencing can be constructed to protect sheep flocks throughout Queensland.
Without exclusion fences, there’s no sheep, it’s as simple as that. Cluster fencing funding has been oversubscribed to date, which highlights how eager producers are to restock with sheep in the 45 million hectares of Queensland that is suitable for sheep grazing.
With recently allocated government grant funding, the central west Queensland region is looking at fencing clusters of landholder properties to about 1.3 million hectares, equating to 113 properties.
Similarly, south-west Queensland will have fenced over 3.5 million hectares, incorporating more than 180 landholders with this grant funding and previous funding from the Queensland Department of Natural Resources.
Landholder surveys from the central west Queensland area alone indicate that sheep numbers will almost double from 365,100 to 714,200 generating an additional $8.5 million in wages from shearing, crutching and lamb marking.
For every $1 of government spending there is a benefit of $3.35 to the central west region, and an additional 90 full time equivalents in the workforce.
Rebuilding Queensland’s sheep numbers will help build Queensland’s regional communities, bringing renewed prosperity and increased employment opportunities in rural areas crying out for more jobs.
With both the Federal and State Budgets only weeks away, Queensland producers will be eager for both governments to build on the generous funding commitments they have already made so we can once again create a productive and sustainable sheep and wool industry.