FILLING out paperwork as a part of funding applications improved beef producers trust in government agencies and environmental initiatives, according to a social researcher.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) Associate Professor Vaughan Higgins said Queensland beef producers were willing to take part in schemes that offer payments for environmental services, but help with filling out paperwork was critical.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) Associate Professor Vaughan Higgins said getting help in filling out the paperwork required as part of funding applications improved trust.
"Providing this support improved producer participation in schemes such as NatureAssist and Reef Rescue, which aim to protect land of high conservation value and improve the quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef," Professor Higgins, who is also deputy director of CSU's Institute for Land, Water and Society, based in Albury-Wodonga in southern NSW said.
NatureAssist and Reef Rescue have provided funding to graziers to regenerate pastures, and fencing to stop cattle fouling waterways and improve control of erosion and cattle movement.
Interviewees believed this work would have been less of a priority without government funding being made available.
"The funds also allowed graziers to manage land that was deemed non-productive or too difficult to manage," Professor Higgins said.
Professor Higgins conducted 33 in-depth interviews with stakeholders in Brisbane and Townsville as well as beef producers in north east Queensland for his research, which was part of a larger project on sustainable land management in Australia funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant.
The graziers interviewed were wary of governments and government regulations, particularly Reef regulations and native vegetation laws, as they affected the productivity of their land and were perceived as a threat to private property rights.
"Support from government agencies or natural resource management organisations, especially in filling out the paperwork, was critical for the success of these programs, to overcome the graziers' concerns about threats to property rights and to make the schemes more attractive to landholders."