PEST: Millions in funding has been announced to fight wild dogs in drought affected areas in Queensland.
PEST: Millions in funding has been announced to fight wild dogs in drought affected areas in Queensland. Contributed

Sheep can bounce back with millions in fencing up for grabs

MILLIONS are up for grabs for wild dog control in Queensland and now that the Southern Downs has been placed on the drought- declared list, the region has a shot at the big bucks.

Warwick-based Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud last week announced $9million in Federal Government funding would be invested in managing pest animals and weeds.

Of that, $7million would be spent on wild dog control.

Karara wool grower Bruce McLeish said the funding was a huge positive, after wild dogs caused sheep numbers to plummet.

"We're using all the tools at the moment but the wild dogs are at a point that baiting, trapping, shooting will not control them so that we can viably run sheep,” he said.

With the biggest sheep selling centre in Warwick and potential for the Wallangarra abattoir to be reopened, Mr McLeish said the region would benefit greatly from the funding.

The results seen in western Queensland with dog fencing were "phenomenal”, he said.

"The beauty of fences is it makes the area smaller to either eradicate them or keep them out of an area,” he said.

"It enhances the value that the Southern Downs Council is putting into baiting.”

Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said the federal government announced funding for dog fencing last year but as the region was not drought declared, the council could not apply.

But this time around the council would be applying for its fair share.

"One of the biggest battles we fight is against wild dogs,” Cr Dobie said. "Wallangarra abattoir closed two years ago now and that's because there aren't enough sheep available and that's solely due to wild dogs.”

Mr McLeish said he would like to see about $1million of the funding invested in the Southern Downs, to build about 160km of fencing.

With sheep numbers currently sitting at about 80-100,000 on the Southern Downs between Warwick, Inglewood and Stanthorpe, Mr McLeish said fencing could bring the figure up to 300,000.

Invigorating the sheep and wool industry would have flow-on effects not only for producers but for employment, schools and livelihoods, he said.

Details about how councils can apply for funding is yet to be released.