16 October, 2020
CW graziers pledge to outspend Government on cluster fencing
SEVENTY-ONE Central West Queensland graziers have pledged $11.6 million to match the Palaszczuk Government's $5 million cluster fencing commitment, boosting sheep numbers by more than 270,000, creating 57 new jobs and boosting the local wage bill by $3.8 million each year.
The data from the Remote Area Planning and Development (RAPAD) Board's recent Round 5 cluster fencing expression of interest (EOI) found:
- Applications were received from 71 landholders;
- to fence 1,997 kilometres;
- to protect 1,188,069 hectares;
- a 57 net increase in jobs;
- would see an expected 273,002 sheep (87,470 before - 360,472 after);
- $3.8 million in new wages each year;
- a total of $5.23 million of funding from the State Government needed; and
- would be matched by a $11.6 million landholder contribution.
RAPAD Chairman and Longreach Regional Council Mayor, Cr Tony Rayner, said the commitment of $5 million, announced by Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner as a Covid-19 recovery measure, was well-received by local landholders and they are keen to turn the funding into fencing and jobs.
"It's about more than a fence. It's about creating jobs and rebuilding our communities. We welcomed the Premier and Minister Furner's announcement and the recognition that cluster fencing immediately supports construction jobs and ongoing increased profitability," Cr Rayner said.
"RAPAD urges the Government to fast-track its $5 million so landholders in the Central West can start erecting fences, returning sheep and creating local jobs without delay," he said.
"The funding commitment generated considerable attention so RAPAD released an EOI to fast track the process.
"The EOI's response once again clearly demonstrates the ongoing demand for fencing here in the Central West due to high wild dog density. This is even more important now to assist our region in responding to the impacts of Covid-19," Cr Rayner said.
If funded and combined with previous rounds, it would deliver:
- 164 new jobs;
- an expected 1.3 million sheep, 828,241 more sheep (sheep numbers before 480,507 and after 1,308,757)
- $11.5m of new wages each year;
- $60.1m increase in gross income from sheep;
- $2.91 benefit per year every year from every $1 spent by Government;
- 90c increased Gross Margin per year to landholders for every $1 one-off expense on the fence;
- see 206 landholders fencing 5,272km to protect 2,771,111ha; and
- approximately 14 per cent of the RAPAD region fenced in clusters providing a catalyst for more private fencing.
Andrew Cochrane, manager at Isis Downs south of Longreach, is one of those who participated.
"Isis Downs has a long and proud history in the sheep and wool industry, but we had to exit the industry. If exclusion fenced, it is anticipated we will diversify by adding sheep and goats to our operational mix.
"This diversification will mean a much greater demand for labour and the supply of goods and services in our local towns," Mr Cochrane said.