Council approves applications for 68.5km of exclusion fencing
28 October 2020
Following significant interest in the offer to landowners for exclusion fencing funding, Southern Downs Regional Council approved 68.5km of fencing to 13 rural properties at today’s Ordinary Meeting.
Funded through Round 1 of the Australian Government’s Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program, Council allocated $342,500 to deliver exclusion fencing, and the approved applications will protect up to 6,656ha of land outside the established clusters.
As anticipated, demand exceeded supply and the offering was oversubscribed with Council receiving 25 Expressions of Interest for 144.1km of exclusion fencing at a value of $720,500.
Southern Downs Councillor Cameron Gow said that given the level of interest in the project and the benefits to the sustainability of the sheep and wool industry, Council would continue to explore future funding options for more fencing.
“It is great to see a number of our rural landowners benefit from this funding. We expected the project would be popular which is why equitable criteria was put in place under the guidance and advice of the steering committee,” Councillor Gow said.
“A key component of the criteria was for applicants to be willing to give local businesses an opportunity to benefit from the project through the supply materials, expertise and labour to build the fences.
“This funding is part of a much larger project aimed at protecting the sheep and wool industry, and our officers will continue to work with landowners during this project.”
The criteria stated that to be eligible for the funding, applicants must be either currently running sheep, or demonstrate a plan to return to sheep in the future. This strategy is aimed at protecting and enhancing the viability of the sheep and wool industry in the Southern Downs. Sheep and wool production requires more labour inputs than cattle farming and the flow on effects to the local economy from more jobs is significant.
Councillor Gow said that applications received through the Expression of Interest process were ranked, with the highest ranking applications notionally approved, until the available funding limit was met. The assessment and ranking of applications was performed by a subset of the Cluster Fence Steering Committee.
The steering committee is chaired by Councillor Gow and includes Council pest management and economic development officers, local landholders representing Cluster groups, the Southern Downs Region Wild Dog Management Working Group and Biosecurity Queensland’s State Wild Dog Coordinator.