In a break with current funding philosophies, the Remote Area Planning and Development Board would like to see future exclusion fence funding guidelines expanded to incorporate linkages between the many cluster fencing projects established in the central and north west in recent years.
To date, only group projects that enclose an area have been eligible for public funding but RAPAD chairman, Rob Chandler said feedback had indicated a number of landholders wished to link existing exclusion fences, either privately or publicly funded, and wanted to be offered an opportunity to participate.
“There has been a lot of anecdotal discussion and ideas around linking existing exclusion fences and we are keen to hear more from producers on this,” Cr Chandler said.
He was quick to add that RAPAD continued to support the current fencing model of enclosing properties.
“We also feel, due to the success of this project and others, it would be worthwhile to consider allowing the linking of existing exclusion fences in potential future funding rounds as the more fencing that occurs in the region the better off producers and communities become.
“The fences are working, it’s as simple as that, and with a lot of the region getting some decent rain recently I am sure there will be even more desire for fencing from now on.
“As such, I think it’s important to start this conversation now with those fenced, those wanting to fence, and the government, about how we get the best bang for our buck from here going forward".
While not calling for straight fences to receive public funding, the other group managing large scale exclusion fencing projects in Queensland, South West NRM is seeking landholder assistance to decide “where to go next” with regard to any new funding that may become available.
Some $5m was promised by the Palaszczuk government during the 2016 election campaign, while federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, announced $1m for pest and weed funding during a visit to Charleville at the start of the year.
South West NRM wanted to know where privately funded exclusion fences were, as well as who had fenced internally with exclusion-standard fences.
It was also keen to know who was undertaking privately funded fencing to join up cluster projects, and to identify what standard of fences have been put up.
The knowledge would allow SWNRM to make updated mapping available so that land managers could consider the best-case scenarios to target future investments, taking financial feasibility and landscape practicalities into account.
The group was also keen to identify the hurdles, apart from the obvious financial one, holding people back from developing their own fencing plan.
Spokesman Craig Alison said these could be absentee neighbours, a landscape that was judged to have too many creek crossings and the like, or no interest in diversifying production enterprises.