A political war of words has erupted but the winner appears to be Queensland graziers.
Acting Queensland agricultural minister Anthony Lynham has told federal agriculture minister David Littleproud to “get his sums right” before attacking the Palaszczuk government’s wild dog exclusion fence funding.
Mr Littleproud accused the state government of under investing in essential wild dog fencing across Queensland during his $9 million wild dog and weed control funding boost announcement last Wednesday in Roma.
A total of $7 million was allocated in federal funding for wild dog management, but the details of its delivery were scarce with graziers told of no submission date when local councils in drought-affected areas will be able to apply for the funding.
David Littleproud needs to get his sums right before he attacks us about our ongoing investment to this essential infrastructure in western Queensland.
“Dog fencing is a state government responsibility yet the federal government has had to invest millions in dog fencing in Queensland because the state government has seriously under invested in this program,” Mr Littleproud said.
“In their latest budget, the Queensland Labor government also slashed pest and weed funding by half – right when farmers need it most.”
But, Mr Lynham said during the 2017 election campaign the Palaszczuk government committed $5 million for more wild dog cluster fencing to be rolled out.
“That money was allocated in last month’s budget and an announcement on its availability will be made shortly,” he said.
“David Littleproud needs to get his sums right before he attacks us about our ongoing investment to this essential infrastructure in western Queensland.
“In total, the Palaszczuk government has committed a total of $35.74 million for wild dog fencing – a mixture of grant and loan funding for farmers and producers.”
Mr Lynham said their funding was in contrast to the federal government’s $19 million since the program began.
I think it’s important to acknowledge all levels of government are helping and that’s great for rural producers.
AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said the rural producer representative organisation had highlighted the need for government investment in regional projects during recent meeting with Mr Littleproud.
“The $9 million funding is very welcome and forms a broader funding package around regional infrastructure that is going to help people be more resilient in times of dry conditions,” Mr Maudsley said.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge all levels of government are helping and that’s great for rural producers.”
Roma grazier welcomes fence funding
Roma grazier Bill Purcell has had several calves bitten by wild dogs this year and welcomes increased funding to build more exclusion fencing.
The Purcell family, Bridgeman Downs, Roma, has now moved their first-calf maiden heifers closer to the house paddock after two young calves were attacked by wild dogs.
“Dogs are an enormous problem in our region with numbers growing rapidly over the years,” Mr Purcell said.
“It not unusual to see five or six dogs in a pack at one time, so I’m glad to hear about this funding.”
Mr Purcell said the cattle industry doesn’t appear to suffer as much as sheep producers with wild dog problems, but both sectors would benefit greatly from establishing more cluster fencing in the south west region.
“In my experience these exclusion fences also hinder the dogs from mating successfully because it appears to separate some male and female dogs from breeding, which causes the dog population growth in the area to slow down.”