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$15 million for Queensland pest and weed projects approved

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Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Leanne Donaldson, today announced the local organisations which will deliver $15 million worth of projects to help drought-affected farmers combat the effects of pest animals and weeds.

“Through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government has committed $10 million to this joint funding package with the Queensland Government, in recognition of the severity of Queensland’s drought conditions,” Minister Joyce said.

"The impacts of wild dogs and weeds are felt even more keenly during periods of drought, so I am pleased that this funding will soon be delivering tangible benefits for drought-affected farmers on the ground.

“Major pests such as wild dogs, rabbits, mice and foxes are estimated to cost our agricultural industries more than $740 million each year in livestock losses, disease transmission and controls, and it’s estimated that weed management costs Australian farmers more than $3 billion every single year.

“A single wild dog for example can kill up to forty sheep in one night, so we must do all we can to help farmers protect their valuable stock at this critical time.

“This is why we have made combating pest animals and weeds a high priority, particularly in drought-affected areas, and have committed more than $35 million across Australia, and $15.4 million in Queensland since 2014, to assist drought-affected farmers manage the impacts of weeds and pest animals.”

Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Leanne Donaldson, announced the package whilst touring drought-hit communities with AgForce today.

“Funding allocations have been approved for eight projects that were assessed by an Oversight Group of industry and government representatives,” Minister Donaldson said.

“I’ve visited regional communities throughout the state in my career, and seen first-hand how tough this drought is on families and businesses.

“To help these communities, the control of pests such as wild dogs has been a priority for this government, and I’m pleased to now be announcing the rollout of concrete projects that will make a real difference.

“These projects will take a multi-pronged approach, undertaking a range of activities such as cluster fencing, baiting and trapping, and weed management of the key pest plant prickly acacia.

"The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will work with the successful applicants to finalise the project grant details and agreements."

The successful applicants are:

 Southern Downs Regional Council  South West NRM Ltd  Goondiwindi Regional Council  Maranoa Regional Council  Quilpie Shire Council  Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board  Desert Channels Queensland.

Minister Donaldson said the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries would also take the lead on a $1 million feral cat project in targeted areas to protect iconic species such as the bilby.

“The feral cat work will include the use of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for surveillance, and research to determine the best strategies for managing feral cat impacts,” Minister Donaldson said.

“These projects have been selected since they are targeted to where communities will most benefit, and capitalise on the extensive knowledge and skills of the groups who will lead their implementation.”

Minister Joyce said pest animals and weeds can seriously undermine the productivity and profitability of farm operations, particularly during drought.

“Through the Ag White Paper the Commonwealth is investing $2.97 billion to support farmers and rural communities to strengthen drought preparedness and risk management, and another $100 million to pest and weed management and eradication,” Minister Joyce said.

To read the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, visit:

For further information on the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative funding scheme, visit or call 13 25 23.

Media contact JOYCE: Gerard McManus, 0477 391 580 DONALDSON: Stephen Johnson, 0410 578 131

17 December 2015