Qld's prickly weed problem still growing

Five million reasons Qld's prickly weed problem still growing

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This prickly acacia outbreak is likely to start setting seed in about 12 months. The weed has grown from seed spread by the north west Queensland floods in February.

This prickly acacia outbreak is likely to start setting seed in about 12 months. The weed has grown from seed spread by the north west Queensland floods in February.

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The Palaszczuk government has locked in behind its decision to renege on a publicised $5 million to control prickly acacia.

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THE Palaszczuk government has locked in behind its decision to renege on a publicised $5 million to control prickly acacia, with Agriculture Minister Mark Furner arguing he did not promise 'new money'.

The slap down to north west Queensland comes despite Mr Furner and then-federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud (now Water Minister) issuing a joint media release on March 29 saying both governments would contribute $5m each to create a $10m war chest to combat prickly acacia.

The Commonwealth says its $5m is locked in regardless of Queensland's actions.

As for the Palaszczuk government's share some clever number crunching appears to have been applied in George Street, meaning the funds are likely to be accounted for through the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative. In the past three QFPI funding rounds over the last five years the bulk of the money has gone on exclusion fences.

In the last round $6m went to exclusion fencing and $1m to weed and pest control. Only $535,000 was allocated on prickly acacia control, specifically for the Flinders Rivers catchment.

The major prickly acacia outbreak in question sits in the Diamantina River catchment, in the headwaters of still relatively pristine - and prickly acacia free - Lake Eyre Basin.

NRM bodies including Desert Channel Queensland say the funding needs to be applied now to control the environmentally destructive weed. Many of those juvenile plants are about 12 months off setting seed, meaning the task of controlling the weed will be significantly more difficult if left unchecked.

Winton landholder Errol Entriken said prickly acacia had come up like grass on his property Sesbania, located 100km north west of Winton.

Mr Entriken said while there had always been prickly acacia on Sesbania, he estimated the population of the weed had doubled following this year's major flood event.

"There's no simple solution. We use machinery to chain some down, poison, pellets - we employ whatever we can," Mr Entriken said.

Comment was sought from Minister Mark Furner.

RELATED STORY: 'Palaszczuk reneges on $5m prickly acacia funding'.

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