Significant new investment targeted at pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas.
$9 million in 2018–19 across Queensland. The investment will fund control measures, with a focus on wild dog fencing. Producers and graziers across drought-affected areas of Queensland will receive a further $9 million to help manage pest animals and weeds as part of the federal government’s response to the ongoing drought.
Of the $9 million, $7 million will be allocated to the fight against wild dogs and $2 million for weed management, both key messages the Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister heard on their recent drought tour.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said this is about building long term resilience for drought affected farmers by preparing them for better seasons and future droughts through improved production.
“Dog fencing is a state government responsibility yet the federal government has had to invest millions in dog fencing in Queensland because the state government has seriously under invested in this program,” Mr Littleproud said.
“In their latest budget, the Queensland Labor Government also slashed pest and weed funding by half – right when farmers need it most. The Queensland Government has proven yet again it will leave rural and regional Queenslanders hung out to dry, especially in times of need.”
Mr Littleproud said a cluster fencing project northwest of Quilpie in Queensland has shown what can be achieved.
“Before the cluster fences, farmers said they were losing sheep and experiencing lambing rates of 30 per cent or less. After the fences were put up lambing rates bounced back to over 80 per cent,” he said.
“This funding will also help local producers and graziers fight insidious weeds like Prickly Acacia and Parthenium found in central and southern Queensland. “Parthenium, regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia, grows best in drought areas, as it competes with crops for nutrients and is toxic to cattle.”
Mr Littleproud said local councils in drought affected areas will be able to apply for a share in the funding and the timing of submissions will be announced in due course.
The $9 million in funding is on top of our $50 million commitment in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper for established pests and weeds nation-wide. As part of the White Paper a further $25.8 million was allocated specifically for pest and weed m anagement in drought-affected areas.
This funding is on top of $6.6 million announced in the recent Federal Budget to continue the fight against established pests and weeds.
Every year established pest animals and weeds cost our farmers in excess of $4 billion in livestock losses and weed management costs.
Wild dogs alone are conservatively estimated to cost the agricultural sector up to $89 million per year.
The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper has invested:
$50 million over four years to tackle established pest animals and weeds
A further $25.8 million specifically for areas still feeling the on-going impacts of drought
This included $13 million to Queensland, with part of this helping 300 properties across more than 3 million hectares with more than 4500 km of cluster fencing in the central west and south west.