Balonne Shire Council is revolutionising the way local governments can manage their natural environment, commencing a region-first Traditional Burning trial program in partnership with local Queensland Murray Darling Catchments Ltd (QMDCL) Indigenous Rangers and the University of Southern Queensland.
Having successfully secured $744,746 in funding through the Advancing Pest Animal and Weed Control Solutions Competitive Grant Round, delivered by the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment - Balonne Shire is trialling Traditional Burning and seasonal cool burning practices on Council land and state-owned stock routes that Council also manages and maintains.
The practices are utilising the knowledge of local QMDCL Indigenous Rangers, Traditional Burning Consultant Victor Steffensen, and the University of Southern Queensland as part of a continued collaboration in the Balonne Shire.
The goal for all agencies involved in Traditional Burning is to combat invasive flora (weeds) and target those which are resistant to herbicides, while allowing native vegetation to thrive throughout the landscape once more.
Traditional Burning is also an effective tool in mitigating bushfire risk to local communities. Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O’Toole thanked the Department for awarding the grant to this landmark Council project.
“We are so thankful to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for seeing the value in our local team trialling Traditional Burning in the Balonne Shire,” she said.
“Our Council staff, the QMDCL Rangers, and everyone involved on this project is incredibly passionate about our natural environment. They have been driving this return to Traditional Burning for many months, and I am so glad to see their hard work and dedication recognised through winning this grant.”
The grant could not have come at a better time for Council and its partner organisations – the team has held a series of successful Traditional Burning test operations at Thallon Reserve and nearby Munya Lake over the past six months, which have confirmed the small cool-burning fires are efficient and easily controlled.
Mayor O’Toole said Council was impressed by the recent tests and looks forward to watching the trial program unfold in the Balonne Shire.
“Within the South West Region, we share the challenge of managing a number of environmental pests and we are looking forward to tackling them in a traditional, environmentally friendly and more cost-effective way,” she said.
“The Balonne Shire team and our partners are leading the way when it comes to Traditional Burning in our region and while we are starting this project on Council land, there is potential to expand this project to assist our local landholders or replicate it for our neighbouring Shires and other government agencies.”
Traditional Burning uses Indigenous cultural knowledge of the land and seasons to inform the practice and is a more sophisticated cool burning with a range of environmental, biosecurity, and pasture productivity outcomes.
Balonne Shire Council’s project is one of 19 funded nationwide through the $13 million Advancing Pest Animal and Weed Control Solutions Competitive Grant Round, to research and advance breakthrough solutions to control of some of Australia’s worst established pest animals and weeds.
For more information visit the Department of Agriculture website.