The Palaszczuk government’s commitment to protect the sheep industry from the scourge of wild dogs is restoring flocks, jobs and training across western Queensland.
Visiting the Longreach region on Monday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government had committed $31.2 million – in grants and loans – for wild dog exclusion fence construction.
“We want to bring sheep back to western Queensland. To do it, we need to keep the wild dogs out,” the Premier said.
The Premier said the other added benefit from the fencing was the increased demand for training for new jobs in the sheep and wool industry.
Longreach Pastoral College, in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation, is introducing courses this year for novices and improvers in shearing and wool handling.
“Staff at the College will be working with shearing contractors and wool producers to identify participants to ensure training can fill the skill gaps. They will also be working to encourage interest among local high school students in the industry,” she said.
“It’s fantastic that we are seeing such a swift response to the new demand and a revival in the industry sparked by the investment in wild dog fencing.”
“We are working with graziers to build fences to protect sheep. To date, we have committed to support more than 7500 kilometres of fencing across western Queensland.”
The Palaszczuk government has committed $13.2 million in grants to assist regional communities with the construction of wild dog exclusion fences and bring sheep back to western Queensland.
The government has also committed to a one-off $18 million loan to the Longreach Regional Council that will lead to the construction of 2500km of fencing to protect 900,000ha of productive grazing land.
It has the potential to increase sheep numbers by another 200,000 over five years, create 130 new jobs and boost population by 500.
“I congratulate mayor Ed Warren and his council for the bold thinking behind this loan scheme and I want other councils who are considering doing the same, to make formal applications now to the Queensland Treasury Corporation,” she said.
The Premier inspected progress on the fence construction near Ilfracombe in central Queensland with Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Minister Bill Byrne and Wild Dog Commissioner Vaughan Johnson.
She also met with fellow Commissioner Mark O’Brien during a whirlwind trip to Roma on Tuesday.