Proposal could help improve station productivity

DISCUSSIONS about challenges graziers face from drought and threats posed by tree-clearing laws were top of the agenda when South West NRM chairperson Mark O’Brien met with Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner during his recent visit to Charleville.

The meeting involved discussions about vegetation management, exclusion fences and Mr O’Brien’s proposal for a contingent liability loan scheme.

Mr O’Brien proposed in 2017 for the development of a scheme which would allow graziers who did not meet criteria to gain access to financial assistance to put exclusion fences up.

The contingent liability loan scheme, similar to a HECS loan, involves graziers repaying the interest-free fund once they earn a profit.

“Fixed repayment schedules do not work with drought,” Mr O’Brien says.

“The Government can’t give out free money forever.

“Graziers need to be able to measure revenue and make a payment from that.”

Mr O’Brien says flexibility is a key priority for the proposed scheme to work effectively.

He says the Morven cluster has shown that exclusion fencing works for local communities, helping to grow the local economy and increased number of people residing in the town.

The scheme would focus on outlying properties who could not form clusters and the sheep and wool areas of Western Queensland.

During the meeting Mr Furner and Mr O’Brien also discussed vegetation management and its importance for South West Queensland businesses and communities.

Mr O’Brien says South West NRM wants the Government to be conscious of the fact that graziers in the South West Queensland region are the best environmentalists.

“All but a handful of graziers comply and consideration needs to be given for continued Mulga harvesting during drought,” Mr O’Brien says.

 

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CONTACTS

Prepared by Martin Volz, Media Officer, martin.volz@swnrm.org.au

More information Phil McCullough, CEO, 0407 126 689