Australians farmers are not only battling prolonged drought conditions, but also tackling the huge issue of feral animals. These pests cost jobs and livelihoods for primary producers and their communities. During our previous visits to Queensland we saw firsthand the devastating effect wild dogs have on sheep numbers and lambing rates. Between 2011-2016, there was a 75% drop in sheep numbers in western Queensland, resulting in the loss of 36% of agricultural jobs in the region. This sharp decline sends ripples beyond the farm gate.
In 2016 the Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) councils and communities partnered with the Commonwealth and Queensland governments to build fences around groups of properties to stop wild dogs and pests and bring back the sheep. The Queensland Feral Pest Initiative Cluster Fence project was born.
In February, Agency staff attended the RAPAD board meeting to hear updates from the Cluster Fence project. At 2,652km covering 121 properties, it’s a lot of land and a lot of wire – but so much more than just a fence. Already the $25 million project has created 70 new jobs and $4m in direct wages in the region, boosting the productivity of producers and providing more stability and opportunities for growth in the wider community.
Fantastic to see Queensland leading the way on this important and pressing issue. Read more about the agricultural, economic and community benefits of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative Cluster Fence project here: www.notjustafence.org