New Federal Government funding to tackle pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas of Queensland will provide a boost for primary producers and regional communities doing it tough, AgForce Queensland Farmers said.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said the $7 million to help in the fight against wild dogs and $2 million for weed management would assist communities now and into the future.
“In our recent meetings with Federal Government representatives, AgForce highlighted the need for investment in regional projects to help provide stability for drought affected communities in the short term and to stimulate economic growth in the long term,” he said.
“New pest and weed management funding was one of AgForce’s suggestions, so we welcome the Federal Agriculture Minister’s announcement and we look forward to more details about how local councils can apply for a share of the funding.”
Mr Maudsley said wild dogs have had a devastating effect on the Queensland sheep industry, but the roll-out of fencing supported by government programs was helping the sector rebuild.
“Without exclusion fences, there’s no sheep, it’s as simple as that. Cluster fencing funding has been oversubscribed to date, which highlights how eager producers are to restock with sheep in the 45 million hectares of Queensland that is suitable for sheep grazing,” he said.
“AgForce has been calling on the Federal and State Governments to each contribute at least an extra $5 million a year towards fencing programs to meet the huge demand and get the job done once and for all.
“It’s been estimated that for every dollar in government spending on exclusion fences, there is a $3.35 benefit to the region, including additional jobs. So rebuilding Queensland’s sheep numbers will build regional communities, bringing renewed prosperity and increased job opportunities.”
Mr Maudsley said he was also pleased to see new funding to help fight weeds, like Prickly Acacia and Parthenium, that reduce primary producers’ productivity and profitability.
“The prolonged and severe drought has taken an enormous economic, social and environmental toll on many regional Queensland communities, so any additional support governments can provide is always well-received,” he said.
“The roundtable meeting was a constructive step towards the development of an enduring drought policy and AgForce looks forward to continued collaboration to build industry resilience and help primary producers prepare for, manage and recover from drought.”