On 21 February 2019, the Balonne Shire Council unanimously voted to move forward with the Wild Dog Exclusion Fencing Scheme.
Council has written to the Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs for approval of the scheme.
Once Ministerial approval is received Council will seek a loan for approximately $8 million from the Queensland Treasury Corporation to fund the scheme. Initially Council will draw down $5 million with the remaining $3 million requiring a further Council resolution for its use.
Eligible landholders can apply for funding for fencing under this scheme. This scheme will tie your property to a special rate from Council for the next 20 years.
It is important applicants are fully aware of implications for their property or pastoral business and should seek independent legal and financial advice.
1. How do I apply?
Interested landholders can apply to be part of the Special Rate Scheme via Council’s Vendor Panel portal.
Applications open on Thursday, 28 March 2019 and close at 3pm on Friday, 26 April 2019.
Sarah Holt from Department of State Development will be available to assist landholders to complete their application and register in Vendor Panel. Her contact details are:
Ms Sarah Holt Senior Economic Development Officer
Darling Downs and South West Regional Services South
Department State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
Phone: 07 4624 1543 Email: email@example.com
Please refer to the Application form for all requirements and ensure you provide all information requested.
2. Why is Council using Vendor Panel?
Vendor Panel is Council’s preferred system for the application process for the following reasons:
- All applications remain confidential and locked until the closing date. After the closing date they are only available to the evaluation panel for assessment;
- All documentation is stored and recorded in the one system;
- The record shows key dates of receipt, acknowledgements, notification of any additional information and the ability to upload relevant information such as insurances or biosecurity plans.
Council will also use Vendor Panel for the procurement of contractors and suppliers of fencing materials. This will mean any landholder that wants to build their own fence will also need to register on the contractors list. Please see the Vendor Panel hand out on how to register.
3. How will my application be assessed?
All applications will be assessed using the selection criteria adopted by Council at its meeting on 21 February 2019. The Application Evaluation Panel (AEP) Committee will assess all applications in Vendor Panel. The Application Evaluation Panel Committee membership is:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Director Community & Environmental Sustainability
- Economic Development Officer
- Representative of the Maranoa Regional Council;
- Representative of our Local Biosecurity Queensland Division
- Secretary, WDEF Project Support Officer
If required the AEP can seek other membership with relevant expertise. The final approval of all applications will be made by Council resolution.
4. Will everyone who applies be successful?
Council has approved borrowings up to $8m with an initial draw down of $5m in 2019/20. This means not all applicants will be approved (depending the numbers and availability of funds). Priority will be given to applications which meet the selection criteria. Council will then consider the option to draw down a further $3m in 2020/21.
5. Why is Council only borrowing $8 million?
Council’s financial sustainability ratio is rated as not sustainable – particularly around our ability to maintain our assets. A borrowing capacity assessment from the Queensland Treasury Corporation informed Council’s options for funding. Council has taken a conservative approach to ensure our financial sustainability is not compromised and that we have the ability to borrow into the future (if required) for infrastructure projects where assets may fail. Council is actively looking at grant funding opportunities and has outlined a range of options landholders can consider (eg. QRIDA loans).
6. What impact will the project have on Council's financial sustainability?
Council has undertaken a long-term financial forecast and the special rate scheme will meet the cost of the loan and interest repayments. The application fee and 3% administrative fee will assist in meeting the initial costs of administering and governing the scheme. In the long term Council considers this project to have significant strategic economic benefit for the Shire.
7. What is the interest rate I will be paying?
The final interest rate will be confirmed by the Queensland Treasury Corporation the day Council’s loan is approved. The interest rate Council has based its workings on is 3.688%, however this will vary depending on the day of approval.
8. What are the fees and charges?
- Application Fee
An Application Fee of $1000 is paid upon lodgement of a fully completed application form. If your application is unsuccessful the Application Fee will be fully refunded to the applicant.
- Administration Fee
Once you are an approved Landholder you will incur an Administration Fee of 3% of the total cost of the fencing project to be payable over the first two (2) years in two (2) equal instalments.
9. When do I start paying the Special Rate and what will the payment structure be?
Subject to Ministerial approval for Council’s Loan we will adopt an Overall Plan for a special rate to be effective from 1 July 2019.
Council will recover all costs associated with the fencing from each approved landholder via a special rate over a 20-year period in accordance with the Local Government Act 2009 and the Local Government Regulation 2012.
The special rate will mirror Council’s loan repayment terms:
- No repayments or interest for first two years; (however the administration fee will be payable in the first two years)
- Interest only for years three to five;
- Interest plus principle for years six to 20.
Full details of the loan repayment schedule will be included in the Landholder Agreement.
10. Who can construct the fence?
Landholders can apply to construct the fence or must use one of Council’s approved contractors. All contractors (including landholders) must register in Vendor Panel for this arrangement. Sarah Holt from State Development will be available to assist contractors and suppliers to register in Vendor Panel. Contact details in Question 1.
11. How do I buy the fencing materials?
Council will purchase all building materials on behalf of the landholder (even if the landholder is constructing the fence). Contractors will be listed on a Register of Pre-qualified Suppliers (ROPS). Landholders will have a say in the materials required and ability to choose one of Council’s preferred suppliers. See Question 10.
12. How long do I have to complete the fence?
The Council Approved Contractor must commence installation within six (6) months from the date on the Agreement and achieve a Date of Practical Completion within 12 months from the date of commencement of infrastructure works.
13. What is Council's procurement process?
Council’s Procurement process will be based on agreed suppliers of fencing materials and a panel of fencing contractors through Vendor Panel. Each property will be quoted separately and built accordingly to the specifications outlined in the Technical Fencing Specifications in Question 14.
In relation to the WDEF Scheme Construction of the Exclusion Fence (materials and installation) Council must undertake the following:
- Arrangements with the Contractor to install the infrastructure within the six (6) months of the date on the Agreement and achieve a Date of Practical Completion within 12 months from the date of commencement of works;
- Initially pay the Contractor the installation cost OR if the Contractor is the individual Landholder they will submit a $0 Installation cost;
- In exchange for the costs of Installation being paid initially by Council, the Landholder must give the Contractor access to the property, and all other assistance that the Contractor and Council reasonably request, to ensure the Contractor to Install the Infrastructure, including but not limited to:
- Entering and remaining on the Property with or without contractors, vehicles, plant and equipment;
- Gaining access to the Property for the purpose of Installation of Infrastructure;
- Undertaking investigations in relation to the feasibility of the Infrastructure
- If the Council implements a system of data collection in an endeavour to measure the economic impact of the Installation of Infrastructure upon the Property, the Landholder agrees to use its best endeavours to assist Council, its Officers and Consultants.
14. Is there a fencing standard for the Wild Dog Exclusion Fence?
Minimum fencing requirements:
- The minimum mesh height of the fence shall be 1.5m;
- The apron should be at least 300mm. As a minimum it should be strained;
- The distance between uprights should be no more than eight metres;
- Mesh size shall be suitable enough to stop the movement of wild dogs;
- The recipient must be satisfied that the fence can withstand storm/wind/fire damage and corrosion;
- The recipient must comply with any obligations under the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011;
- Where the recipient undertakes to engage an organisation to build fencing as part of the activity the recipient will ensure it is satisfied as to the materials used to construct the fence and the method of construction of the fence; and in, but not limited to, creeks, gullies, public lands and road crossings it is recognised these fencing requirements may not be appropriate and alternative methods used to prevent the movement of wild dogs will need to be outlined.
- The recipient must comply with the Balonne Shire Council’s Grid & Exclusion Fencing Policy .
Please note where the landholder considers a fence design other than that containing the above minimum fencing requirements is more appropriate, BSC may negotiate and agree upon an alternate fence design that:
- Prevents the movement of wild dogs; and
- Contains suitable materials and methods of construction.
15. Do I have to have an agreement with Adjoining Landholders?
Yes, where there are shared fences the landholder is required to determine their own agreement with their neighbours regarding sharing the costs and maintenance per the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011. For the Wild Dog Fencing Special Rate Scheme Council requires Adjoining Landholders to sign an Agreement to grant Council, the Council’s Employees, Officers, Agents, Contractors and Invitees to gain access to undertake the works.
All parties to any agreement should seek their own legal and/or financial advice.
16. Do I require a Biosecurity Plan or Pest Management Plan to participate in the Scheme?
Yes, as part of this Scheme you are required under the essential criteria of the Application to submit a copy of your current Biosecurity Plan or Pest Management Plan. The Biosecurity Act 2014 requires all local government authorities to have in place a Biosecurity Plan (BP) to manage invasive pests and weeds.
You can obtain help to prepare your plan by contacting Balonne Shire Council’s Project Support Officer (WDEF) Tayla Willis on phone 07 4620 8888 or via email WDEF@balonne.qld.gov.au .
17. What Acts and/or Regulations I need to follow?
You will be required to follow a number of Regulations and/or Acts during the construction of the exclusion fences under this Scheme, however the major Acts you are required to follow are listed below:
- Environmental Protection Act 1994
- Vegetation Management Act 1999
- Stock Route Management Act 2002
- Biosecurity Act 2014
It is the responsibility of the Landholder for the management of the environment and vegetation management issues on the property under the above mentioned Acts. Where the fence impacts Public Land, including but not limited too Road Reserves, Stock Routes, National Parks, etc., the Landholder must contact Balonne Shire Council’s Project Support Officer (WDEF) Tayla Willis on phone 07 4620 8888 or via email WDEF@balonne.qld.gov.au in the first instance. Council will make approved landholders aware of their obligations and complete any relevant forms in these matters during the execution of their individual agreements.
18. Do I own the Exclusion Fence?
The ownership of the Exclusion Fence will be transferred from Council to the Landholder on the Date of Practical Completion and Final Inspection.
19. What are the taxation implications?
Landholders are advised to seek their own financial and legal advice concerning taxation, depreciation and to take into consideration their ability to repay the special rate over the 20-year period. GST will be paid and claimed by Council for fencing materials and/or contractors. The Nett amount of the fencing cost will be the amount to be paid via the special rate by landholders - ie. GST will not appear on your rates notice or in the loan schedule in the landholder agreement.
20. What other options are available?
Council has provided a comparison of the different options available to landholders. Landholders should seek their own financial and/or legal advice with regards to any decision they make.
21. Will there be any retrospective claims that landholders can make who have already built their fence?
Landholders who have already built their own fence/s or purchased their own materials are advised there will be no retrospective claims allowed under Council's WDEF Scheme.
22. What are the requirements to become a contractor?
At a minimum you will need public liability insurance and workers' compensation. You will also need the relevant equipment to enable you to construct the fenct to the required standard.
23. What is the timing for Suppliers and Contractors to supply quotations for each individual project?
Fencing Suppliers and Contractors will be required, under the Vendor Panel quoting system, to supply a quotation fo individual fencing construction and/or supply of materials to be completed within five (5) business days of the Request for Quotation being posted.