There’s no money on the table, but the Remote Area Planning and Development Board is surveying the amount of ongoing interest in strategic cluster fencing in the state’s central west.
RAPAD is calling for expressions of interest from eligible landholders and groups who are seeking support to build new encircling cluster fences, and for the first time, to link existing exclusion fences by way of straight line fences.
According to RAPAD chairman, Rob Chandler, the call is going out to ascertain the ongoing appetite and need for exclusion fencing in the region to put to state and federal governments.
In the political sphere, RAPAD is advocating for the progression of strategic cluster fencing in Barcaldine, Longreach, Blackall-Tambo, Winton, Barcoo, Boulia, Richmond, McKinlay and Flinders shires.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was presented with a request for an additional $5 million for cluster fencing when she visited Ilfracombe earlier in 2017, and the EOI aims to demonstrate the need behind the request.
“Through this EOI, we are also keen to hear from producers who are seeking to link existing exclusion/cluster fences either privately or publicly funded,” Cr Chandler said.
“There has been a lot of anecdotal discussion and ideas around linking existing exclusion fences and we are keen to hear more from producers on this."
Cr Chandler said he wanted to be clear that producers who provide a submission aren't guaranteed funding or support.
“We remain hopeful that more funds do flow to the project. I stress this information collection is important,” he said.
The EOI will build on round one and two cluster fencing projects currently being delivered, which are expected to see:
- An increase in sheep numbers from 373,358 to an expected 735,966, an increase of 362,608;
- An increase in wages directly generated from shearing and crutching, from $4.48m to $8.83m, an increase of $4.3m;
- A net increase in jobs from 107 to 177, an increase of 70;
- An increase in regional gross margin from $21.6m to $35.2m, an increase of $13.6m.
According to project officer, Morgan Gronold, the total annual regional benefit from the funding already given out is $22.7m, or $3.28 per year, every year, that is being delivered to the region from every dollar government has spent on cluster fencing.
“And it only takes two to cluster,” he said.