The eradication of wild animals from our properties is a constant battle for Murweh farmers.
Following recommendations handed down from those who confront the issue on a daily basis, Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne is now calling for an all inclusive approach on tackling the problem.
“After broad consultation with local governments and key stakeholders we can today announce $4 million will be available over the next three years to support projects in drought-affected areas to trap and bait wild dogs,” Minister for Agriculture Bill Byrne said.
“In addition we are making $1 million available for feral cat research that will support future programs in national parks and key private conservation reserves.
“Over recent months I have had a number of discussions with graziers, councillors and peak-bodies and I have seen for myself the terrible consequences of wild-dog populations.
“As long ago as 2009, Agforce estimated that costs attributed to wild dogs in Queensland may be as high as $67 million, and the problem has not got any easier since.
“The Feral Pest Initiative – a key election commitment that we are fast-tracking – has been designed to dovetail with Federal Government funding for cluster fencing in high priority areas where there are high densities of wild dogs and significant evidence of impacts on livestock.”
Minister Byrne says the way forward had been recommended by an oversight group that had included the Queensland Farmers Federation, AgForce, Local Government Association of Queensland, Queensland Conservation Council and the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre.
“We are now calling for expressions of interest from local authorities, regional natural resource management groups and key stakeholder groups wanting to run feral pest control programs,” he says.
“Proposals for funding will need to be evidence-based with clear goals that can be monitored.
“By working together with interest groups and landholders this funding will reduce the number of wild dog attacks on livestock, and the threat they also pose to human and domestic animal safety.
“Through commitment and collaboration, feral cats will also be better managed to reduce the impact they have on biodiversity.
“Given the level of consultation, we can be confident that this model is the best way to achieve the maximum benefit,” he says.
Priority will be given to projects proposed for the following Shires: Paroo, Murweh, Quilpie, Barcaldine, Longreach, Blackall-Tambo, Barcoo, Winton, Flinders, Bulloo, Maranoa, Balonne, Southern Downs, Western Downs and Goondiwindi.
The oversight group recommended that the majority of the Australian Government funding should be allocated to support regionally agreed cluster fencing arrangements in areas with high wild dog density and evidence of high impacts.
The Australian Government has allocated an indicative $10 million of Australian Government Drought Assistance to Queensland for the 2015/16 financial year to support improved pest animal and weed management in drought affected areas.
For further information about feral cats and wild dogs and how to apply for funding contact 13 25 23 or visit www.daf.qld.gov.au