KOALAS IN WITH A FIGHTING CHANCE

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KOALAS have a new secret weapon in the fight for survival: farmers.

 

The iconic Aussie animal has had a hard time over the last two decades, with drought-related habitat dieback, disease and wild dogs causing a massive population decline to about one-fifth their previous numbers in just fifteen years.

 

But the days of stress for the cuddly creature are over.

 

South West NRM, the local natural resource management group, is up for the challenge to reverse the trend.  For years, SWNRM has been funding and organising farmers building huge new fences to protect their herd from wild dog predation.

 

The fences protect koalas too, argued South West NRM chair and Wild Dog Commissioner, Mark O’Brien.

 

“Koalas are now in for a fighting chance as landholders embark on a fencing feat no match for wild dogs. With over 3.5 million hectares already set to be fenced in, we hope to dramatically increase this area with further government support,” he said.

 

“Landholders are working collaboratively to manage wild dog populations within the fenced areas. Over population of kangaroos will also be better managed. By removing the main stressors in the environment and allowing regeneration of natural groundcover and water access, koalas and other critters will start to thrive.

 

“Koalas will remain protected in the long term as fenced areas are set to become safe havens for our wildlife. Landholders want to protect the native wildlife and habitats, but it’s an uphill battle when nature is working against them. The fencing will help achieve a more natural balance as management practices such as grazing pressure become much more controlled.”

 

The Collaborative Area Management project is funded through the Queensland Government Regional NRM Investment Program and the Feral Pest Initiative. Funding has also been provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.

 

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CONTACTS

Prepared by                Liz Todd, media consultant, 0457 831 512, liz@liztodd.com.au

More information         Phil McCullough, CEO, 0407 126 689

   Jon Grant, Project Manager, 0474 761 633

 

 


Wild Dog Fences Need To Be "Up To Scratch" To Protect Government Investment

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South West NRM is one of the partners rolling out the Queensland Government’s $26 million investment in wild dog fences. Chairman Mark O’Brien highlights the need to protect this investment with fencing standards that prevent wild dogs scratching through.

“We are thrilled with the recent visit by the Queensland Premier to western areas to inspect the fencing infrastructure and see first hand the value of the Government’s investment. The Premier has clearly understood its worth not only to the production capability of the area, but also the transformation for whole communities.” Mr O’Brien said.

“Since 2013, South West NRM’s Collaborate Area Management project has supported 22 collaborative groups, involving over 180 landholders to construct 4,000 kilometres of high integrity exclusion fencing.  The Government’s investment will benefit over 3,500,000 hectares of agricultural land in the South West with improved practices and protection from wild dogs.

“The success of the project hinges on the integrity of the fences and the maintenance program. Our monitoring and experience shows the importance of the 30cm apron on the ground to ensure dogs can’t scratch through. We are stringent on other design elements such as 1.5 metre height, rigid knot hinge joint wire and barb wire on the top and bottom.

“We also require landholder groups to maintain the fence for 20 years. Strong contractual obligations give the Government and public confidence that funds are invested for long term results. Our Project Officers are undertaking intensive on-ground monitoring of pest presence, land condition and economic data. Results are already showing a 63% increase in lambing from reduced predation for one producer. We look forward to reporting more of those results across the region,” Mr O’Brien said.

“South West NRM has received overwhelming interest from landholders in the region looking to participate in the program. The Premier’s visit is reassuring for further funding to assist more landholders improve their production capacity and return benefits to our communities.  

“We urge the Government to ensure measures are in place that demonstrate the integrity of fencing and long term maintenance to deliver the full benefits of their investments. This is important to us, as poor fencing has far reaching consequences,” Mr O’Brien said.

The Collaborative Area Management project is funded through the Queensland Government Regional NRM Investment Program and the Feral Pest Initiative. Funding has also been provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Australian Government’s plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.

 

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CONTACTS

Prepared by                       Liz Todd, media consultant, 0457 831 512, liz@liztodd.com.au

More information              Phil McCullough, CEO, 0407 126 689

      Jon Grant, Project Manager, 0474 761 633

 

 

BUILDING COMMUNITY RESILIENCE WITH FENCE POSTS

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Innovative pest fencing is building community resilience in South West Queensland as groups of landholders’ band together to tackle their pest problems.

The Collaborative Area Management project is an initiative of South West NRM that involves the construction of pest exclusion fencing around a group of properties. The project allows grazing businesses to restrict pest animal movement, and regain the ability to produce sheep in a productive and profitable manner.

South West NRM Pty Ltd Chairman, Mr Mark O’Brien said “Through the management of total grazing pressure and predation, businesses will be better structured to operate sustainably, with a stronger opportunity to manage drought conditions.”

“After just two years, one landholder reported a significant recovery of lambing rates from 7% to 70% from decreased predation, which equates to over $500,000 of increased income. A sustained increase in production over time will be good news for the region as opportunities for services and employment improve,” Mr O’Brien said.

“To understand the extent of the project’s influence on pest and land management practices, the University of New England is conducting research in collaboration with Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and South West NRM.

“The benefits of the fencing are not just about fiscal returns. We hope to gain insight into landholders’ perceptions about the fencing, from those inside and outside the cluster fences. We expect the research to demonstrate improved attitudes and wellbeing, supporting an increased capacity to recover from years of devastation,” Mr O’Brien said.

The results from the research project will be available in the next few months and will inform the targeted rollout of further fencing projects by South West NRM in the region.

The Collaborative Area Management project is funded through the Queensland Government Regional NRM Investment Program and the Feral Pest Initiative. Funding has also been provided through the Australian Government Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Austalian Government's plan for stronger farmers and a stronger economy.

 

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CONTACTS:

 

Prepared by                  Liz Todd, Media Consultant, 0457 831 512, liz@liztodd.com.au

More information          Phil McCullough, Chief Executive Officer, 0407 126 689

                                   Jon Grant, Project Manager, 0474 761 633

                            

CAM 2 - Media Release 3 January 2017

CAM 2 - Media Release 3 January 2017
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CAM Phase 2

Cluster fence expected to be completed by Christmas

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In May 2015, Minister Joyce announced a proposed allocation of $10 million to add to the Queensland Government’s ongoing support for cluster fencing. The money was predominately for the sheep regions of south and central western Queensland and was warmly welcomed.
 
In June this year, the Minister agreed with a proposed model of distribution for the funds which was increased by $6 million from the Queensland State Government.
 
“South West NRM is proud of how quickly we have delivered the rollout of this project and put the money into fences” said South West NRM Chair, Mark O’Brien. He said this after inspecting the fencing works and seeing the efforts of the Wellwater Cluster, which has been funded by this money.
 
Cluster members, Scott Sargood and Allan Cann (pictured) joined Mark for the inspection and reported a significant portion of the fence is now up and the full job is expected to be completed by Christmas – this has been in spite of some very welcome rain in the area.
 
“A very speedy and positive outcome thanks to great collaboration between the cluster and Jon Grant, the South West NRM CAM Phase 2 manager”, said Mr. O’Brien.

Cluster picture.jpg

 

Queensland Government

RLF Programme

National Landcare Programme