Dirranbandi farmer Rob Hemming believes his 14,000-hectare property, Beverleigh, will not be the only winner from the Balonne Shire Council’s involvement in a Wild Dog Exclusion Fencing initiative.
“From our point of view by undertaking the fencing we will be able to control feral animals which will allow us to have the opportunity to run small stock, such as goats and sheep, something we have not done in the past and it will also mean we can consider our choice of crops,” he said.
“But the economic flow-on to the broader community runs deeper than that – a local freight company had to bring the fencing to us, we purchased the fencing from a local outlet and people will be employed to undertake the work.”
He said for all those reasons he was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the program.
Mr Hemming’s property is the first in the Shire to have materials delivered under the scheme, signalling the scheme is now underway on the ground.
Council sought applications for the $5 million in grant funds from landholders in the Murray Darling Basin catchment on a 50:50 basis last year and like Council’s own Special Rate Scheme - where Council borrowed $8 million to provide 20-year loans to landholders for WDEF – this scheme was heavily subscribed.
Mayor Samantha O'Toole with Rob and Sally Hemming on their property Beverleigh at Dirranbandi
“There has been twice as much interest as there were funds available and all up about 40 properties have received grants for a total of 821 km of WDEF,” Mayor Samantha O’Toole said.
“We know that this type of fencing offers real benefits for landowners in extending their options as to how they can effectively use their land but the flow-on economic benefits to local communities can also not be underestimated.
“It is for all these reasons that Council has been actively pursuing opportunities for farmers to be able to undertake this fencing in a cost-effective manner and I am sure we will see the economic benefits well into the future.”
Under the terms of the program landholders have six months to begin work once their agreement is signed.
Mr Hemming said he anticipated the work to be completed by the middle of next year.
This Murray–Darling Basin Economic Development Program project received grant funding from the Australian Government.
For more information:
Nigel Tapp, Corporate Communications Co-ordinator - Balonne Shire Council
T: 07 4620 8804
M: 0476 660 047