THE war of words between Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott and state Agriculture Minister John McVeigh over pest animal funding continues, following Mr McVeigh's announcement at Longreach last week that none of the $5.6 million allocated for pest control in Queensland's drought declared areas could be spent on fencing.
Mr Scott has strongly advocated for the state to spend its federal allocation on hard infrastructure, saying that conventional methods of control were failing.
On at least two occasions last week Mr McVeigh stated that the guidelines of the federal-state pest management funding agreement precluded the state putting its allocation towards check fences.
"We have had distracting commentary in recent weeks," Mr McVeigh told a gathering of proponents for the 1300km check fence proposal.
"Just to clarify, the project guidelines say, thou shalt not spend money on fences."
The following morning a similar comment was front and centre at the meeting called by Mr McVeigh and attended principally by mayors and wild dog advisory group chairmen to discuss how the federal funding would be allocated.
"There is no money for fencing," he told the meeting.
"I imagine the federal government thinking is that in times of drought we need to hit dogs hard while they're vulnerable."
In the wake of these comments Mr Scott said he had received advice from his federal colleague Barnaby Joyce's department that there was nothing in the agreement that prevented money being spent on fencing.
"I was told that it was a matter for the Queensland government whether they wanted to apply a portion of the $5.6m to fences.
"The agreement clearly sets out that the money is to reduce predation and grazing pressure.
"Saying that it's not for fences is someone's interpretation."
According to the COAG document guidelines posted on the internet, as well as ensuring that funds were only spent in drought-declared shires, states were to ensure that funding built on existing state/territory pest management programs and utilised appropriate and effective delivery mechanisms.
States are also asked to consult with community and landholders to identify the highest priority pest animals and most effective control methods.
Mr Scott remained adamant fencing was the best way to go and was equally strong in saying he would continue to fight for funding.
"The flaw with baiting is that people have the right to choose whether to do it or not," he said.
"It allows dogs to keep flowing through.
"I've been speaking with a lot of people on the ground in affected communities and they are reinforcing my belief that check fencing is needed.
"Because money is so hard to get, I still believe we should spend what we can get on infrastructure."
He suggested the state's Royalties for the Regions program as a further possible avenue for funding for shires that wanted to pursue the fencing option.