CW cluster fencing demand continues to outstrip funds

RAPAD's round three cluster fencing applications oversubscribed


Sheep
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The ongoing impact of wild dogs in western Queensland has been starkly illustrated by the continued interest in cluster fencing funding, shown when applications were announced on Tuesday.

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The ongoing impact of wild dogs in western Queensland has been starkly illustrated by the continued interest in cluster fencing funding, shown when applications were announced on Tuesday.

The Remote Area Planning and Development Board's round three application process has been oversubscribed by almost $1.5m.

Applicants from Winton to the Blackall-Tambo region requested $3.3m from the state government, matched by $10.7m in private investment, after the government allocated $2.25m to the RAPAD region when it announced round three was open.

RAPAD chairman Rob Chandler was pleased with the interest, saying at the same time he understood there would be some left disappointed.

"We were hopeful the rain earlier this year would encourage people to commit to building a fence, so it's great to see plenty wanting to get in behind wire. It's just a shame some have to miss out," he said.

At a glance:

  • 17 clusters of 45 properties applying to fence 1216 km and protect 454,590ha from wild dogs;
  • Expected sheep number growth of 290,584;
  • Blackall-Tambo Regional Council 1; Barcoo 2; Winton 2; Longreach Regional Council 5; Barcaldine Regional Council 7;
  • Round 3 oversubscribed by 500km.

"People who have run more than 20,000 sheep for decades are back to having a hatful if they are lucky," Cr Chandler said.

"A landholder south west of Barcaldine has reported killing 160 wild dogs since January, which is directly linked to lambing rates in decline from 80pc down to just 5pc.

"Once the sheep go it means less kids in our schools, less nurses in our hospitals and less people in the region.

"This is about more than a fence, it's about creating jobs in the region, empowering people and giving them back control of their time, finances and wellbeing," he said.

For a full picture go to www.notjustafence.org

The government announced that $6m would be available under round three of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative, to be split between RAPAD and the southern Queensland region, including the Western Downs Regional, Maranoa Regional, Goondiwindi Regional and Southern Downs Regional Councils

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it would result in another 2000km of fencing, meaning there would be nearly 9000km of government-funded cluster fencing through the state once it was erected.

Cr Chandler said because interest in being part of the project remained high in western Queensland, RAPAD was committed to lobbying the government to continue the funding for a fourth round.

"People want to fence, that's why we have been oversubscribed in every round we have held. People are itching to get back into the wool job, but it's risky without a fence," he said.

The Queensland Feral Pest Initiative has received funding through the Queensland government and the Australian government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

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