Long-awaited state funding for exhuasted sheep farmers
PART of a new State Government feral pest initiative could be on its way to Southern Downs farmers, helping them beat the growing terror of wild dogs.
Last week, the Palaszczuk government announced that a $5 million grant for cluster fencing would be granted to Western Queenslanders under the COVID-19 Unite and Recover Queensland Jobs plan.
While the announcement failed to mention any funding towards the prevailing Southern Downs problem, Karara farmer Ian Cullen said key players in the region were in discussion with the State government, regarding the next round of aid.
As of Thursday night, the Karara farmer said those farming in the area had caught a combined 101 wild dog since the new year.
“It’s unreal — it’s never ever been as thick as this,” he said.
“In the drought, they were able to breed up because the kangaroos were so easy to attack and now they’re so cunning they’re even starting to pull down cattle in Roger’s Creek.”
Mr Cullen said the threat had driven out farmers, exhausted from the never-ending fight.
“There are only four sheep farmers around here now,” he said.
“It is stopping a lot of younger people coming into wool industry. If you can’t control dogs, there’s no making a dollar out of sheep.
“It’s the next generation of sheep farmers thinking there’s not much hope for us.”
While it is welcome support when it comes, Mr Cullen said up until now he’s had “no help at all” financially.
“The outlay to start fencing is the biggest thing,” he said.
“We’ve been fencing here for the last 15 years and those fences we built 10 years ago, they’re now learning to dig under them.
“For us, we already have netting, the next step is electrified fences.”
Agricultural Minister Mark Furner said the funding would help boost an increasing sheep industry, despite contradictory national data.
“We’re seeing lambing rates of more than 75 per cent and doubling of the sheep numbers up to 720,000 sheep,” he said.