The anticipated $5 million in cluster fence funding promised by the ALP in the last election campaign is now open for landholders to access.
It will be combined with $1m allocated in the latest state budget to deliver another 2000km of fencing across the Queensland landscape.
The announcement was made in Blackall this morning by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, accompanied by Agriculture Minister, Mark Furner.
Mr Furner said that legends were created in the bush and as a result of the money the Palaszczuk government was putting into exclusion fencing, it would be known as a legend in the bush.
”When you consider the fierce advocacy the Premier makes in terms of speaking for all of Queensland, she didn't hesitate today in coming out and being involved in this announcement,” he said. “We have a Premier that is so passionate about the bush, and I am so privileged to be in the position of being the Agriculture Minister.”
The first two rounds of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative has seen almost 7000km of cluster fencing built on 423 properties in priority sheep-growing areas.
As to how the funding would be structured and whether single applicants could be catered for, Mr Furner said it was a matter not only for his department but also the local communities to have their say.
“It shouldn’t be a government dictating what should be the example.
“What suits best out in these regions, we know the people on the land are the best advocates of what’s necessary in terms of making sure we protect the sheep and wool industry and make this a better community as a result of this funding.”
AgForce calls for yearly allocation
AgForce has welcomed the opening of applications for the next round of wild dog exclusion fencing funding, and urged the government to ensure the money gets out on the ground as soon as possible.
It has also said while the money was welcome, more needed to be done, calling on both federal and state governments to allocate at least $5 million a year to “help meet the enormous demand for fencing in Queensland and ensure the job gets done properly and promptly”.
President Grant Maudsley said the roll-out of fencing supported by government programs had been a massive boost for the Queensland sheep and wool industry and needed to continue.
“Rebuilding sheep numbers helps build Queensland's regional communities," he said. ”With the release of new guidelines for applications, we urge producers to work with their local natural resource management groups and councils to submit project plans that could benefit their area."
Mr Furner said people needed to apply before November 5, through their natural resource management groups or councils, who will vet the applications.
“We have rigour in this process,” he said. “I’m really encouraged by the process that’s been applied and we’ll see some great outcomes as a result of this announcement today.
“What we saw earlier, you can see the stark difference and it’s showing that these fences are working in terms of protecting the grasses and the animals.”
An exclusion fence protecting prime lambs was inspected close to Blackall.