It’s been a long wait for cluster fencing but it might soon be over.
Primary producers across the Murweh region are lining up in anticipation for the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative to sign off on the $6 million cluster fencing project and begin the rollout across the south west.
Funding will be dispersed by South West NRM across the 6 regions of Balonne, Bulloo, Maranoa, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie.
The news has been welcomed by graziers across the state and they are eager to get started.
“Now, people are calling up daily asking where are we at, what’s the latest and we have pages of names on waiting lists already,” says SW NRM Resource Economist, Jon Grant
“So I think it’s going to be highly competitive once everything is signed off.”
They hope to receive final approvals and have projects underway as soon as next week.
South West NRM isn’t wasting any time…
“We’re now developing the expressions of interest, project application forms and selection criteria, so as soon as we find out and everything is signed off, the rollout begins,” continues Grant.
“People are now starting to realise the benefits of cluster fencing, when we originally developed the project, it was actually just for the trial to see if these kinds of projects could be implemented and cost effective.”
The cluster fencing project is a game changer for locals that could mean the difference between closing up or becoming profitable and drought resistant.
In recent consultations across the state by the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce, cluster fencing was frequently cited as a part of the solution to revive western agricultural industries.
It’s a move to be welcomed further through into the central west also.
Councils in the RAPAD group will see $5.45 million for cluster fencing projects for farms across Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, Winton, Barcoo and Flinders regions that are currently verging on the brink.
RAPAD CEO David Arnold hopes to see action on the ground in the next three to six months, with expressions of interest reaching up to 30 clusters in the Central West region.
“Incredibly, all the interest for cluster fencing is covering around 3 million hectares, so we have people just waiting for it to happen now,” Mr Arnold says.
“We’ve been advocating for a while now and it’s finally coming to fruition. I know other projects are also awaiting funding and should be underway sometime soon.”
All involved hold out hope that this won’t be the last support they receive.
Drought sustainability measures and cooperation by all government and industry is vital to ensure long term regional growth.