Local councils will be invited to apply for a share of $700,000 to step up wild dog control efforts in their regions, under a new funding package announced by the Queensland Government on Thursday.
Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh said the funding will be offered to local councils and industry to boost wild dog management programs across the state.
He said the Queensland Government was now seeking expressions of interest from councils in southern, central and north western areas to undertake wild dog control projects in pastoral and ‘peri-urban’ areas.
Peri-urban refers to areas between a city’s outer suburbs and the countryside.
“While Biosecurity Queensland provides significant support to combat the wild dog menace, we really need local councils to keep the pressure on wild dogs in these suburban outskirt areas,” Mr McVeigh said.
“The government wants to help councils in southern coastal areas with this task and is offering funding of up to $250,000 for projects including mapping, building community skills and control in refuge areas.
“Wild dogs in peri-urban areas are an emerging problem and we need to start marshalling our forces now before it becomes a significant control issue.”
Mr McVeigh said the government was also making available $250,000 for councils across south western, central western and north western Queensland to undertake wild dog control projects.
“The key to controlling wild dogs across such vast areas is coordination,” he said.
“Ideally, all councils should be using available resources and strategies to ensure a consistent approach. All of our hard work is undone if wild dogs are not controlled in adjoining council areas.”
Mr McVeigh said potential projects could involve local mapping and control in areas where wild dog numbers are concentrated and having a significant effect on communities.
“Over the past year, our concerted efforts have started to see some inroads against the wild dog problem but we have to keep up the pressure and find new ways of reducing their numbers and impacts.”
Mr McVeigh said the Newman Government would be contributing $30,000 for a feasibility study into barrier fences in the Blackall-Tambo, Barcaldine and Longreach Regional council areas.
“All of this new funding complements the efforts of industry groups such as Agforce, which are working hard to make landowners more aware of wild dogs and the need for a combination of land holder-led strategies to combat the
problem,” he said.
“To support its continuing industry education program, the government has committed $175,000 for Agforce to roll out a series of initiatives.”
AgForce is currently its Wild Dog Week series of workshops across North Queensland which are aimed at encouraging coordinated pest management in the northern beef sector.
AgForce projects manager, Sue Dillon, said wild dogs were one of the most significant imposts on the viability of grazing.
“In 2009 it was estimated wild dogs cost more than $67 million annually and there is little doubt this number has increased substantially since that time,” Ms Dillon said.
“For this fight to be won an industry-wide, coordinated and cooperative approach must be taken.
She said AgForce had been instrumental in creating a number of self-sustaining landholder wild dog management groups which were proving successful, and the funding would allow the organisation to
further roll out similar projects to fill gaps in wild dog management across the state.
She said other AgForce work which would benefit from the funding included:
• Linking volunteer community groups, State Government and Local Government investment to achieve better outcomes for all projects;
• Continuing to work closely with CSG companies to manage wild dogs in large tracts of land that they hold;
• Working with National Parks to implement wild dog eradication in conjunction with neighbours;
• Developing strategies for dealing with lifestyle block landholders to manage wild dogs;
• Continuing to utilise mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assist in planning and reviewing outcomes.
AgForce’s Wild Dog Week has so far involved workshops in in Mt Garnet, Einasleigh and Croydon, with further events set for Burketown (May 3), Gregory Races (May 4) and Camooweal (May 6).
“These workshops are taking huge steps towards stepping up wild dog management in the key pastoral areas of North Queensland,” Ms Dillon said.
“AgForce is committed to continuing our war on wild dogs and restoring greater profitability to the grazing industry.
The additional resources announced today along with initiatives already implemented by our organisation will help us do that.”
Councils seeking further information on the Expression of Interest process contact the DAFF Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.