Ashlee McEvoy ASAS/ASAP 2017 Communications Intern 25th March 2017
Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) was allocated funds from the State Government’s $5 million commitment in May 2016 for the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.
The first round of funding towards the RAPAD fencing scheme in central west Queensland was given out in July 2016. In the second round, released this month, seven clusters made up of 31 producers are now expected to erect close to 800 kilometers of wild dog proof fencing. This second round is expected to protect almost 400,000 hectares, and projects to double the sheep numbers in that area. This second wave was only available to those who did not receive first round funds.
Scott Counsell, the owner of 44,500 hectare property just east of Barcaldine, is one of the second round recipients. Along with the drought, the dogs have caused Mr Counsell to almost completely destock in sheep in March 2015. In February 2016 when his family tried to get back into the business by purchasing wether lambs, over 20% of the flock was savaged within four months.
“It eases the financial pain. It’s not going to cover the cost of the fencing or the construction, but it helps,” Mr Counsell said to ABC Rural.
“Come Christmas time, we’re going to have probably a fair bit of our fence up and we’ll be doing everything we can to clean our cluster out and start running lots of sheep.”
Mr Counsell said that he is looking forward to being “in control of [his] own destiny.”
He is hoping to increase his current flock size of 1,100 to 15,000 in the future which these property changes.
Unfortunately not all candidates who reapplied for the second round were lucky to receive a grant.
Rob Chandler, chair of RAPAD is pushing to secure more State and Federal Government funding for those candidates that did miss out.
“We’ve had very positive feedback from the premier of Queensland and the Agricultural Minister Bill Byrne and they have indicated that they will more funding in this year’s state budget,” he mentioned to ABC Rural.
Mr Chandler is hopeful that another $5 million will be allocated in the 2017/2018 state budget. The Queensland government is due to deliver the next financial years budget in June.
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