Deadline looming for invasive pest funding
Drought-affected Queensland councils have less than a month to apply for their share of $10 million in Federal Government funds to combat pest animals and weeds like the invasive prickly acacia.
The additional grant funding under Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program – Biosecurity Management of Pests and Weeds – Round 2 was announced by the Federal Government last month following sustained lobbying by the Local Government Association of Queensland.
Applications close 5 February 2020.
Nineteen Queensland councils are eligible to apply for grants of between $50,000 and $1 million, with the funding designed to help local government manage the negative impacts of pest animals and weeds during drought, while also stimulating the economy and creating jobs in the affected areas.
Eligible councils include Balonne, Lockyer Valley, Somerset, Banana, Logan, South Burnett, Bundaberg, Maranoa, Southern Downs, Central Highlands, North Burnett, Toowoomba, Gladstone, Paroo, Western Downs, Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Goondiwindi and Scenic Rim.
Consortia of councils can also apply for up to $3 million under the program.
Applications close on February 5th.
LGAQ President Mayor Mark Jamieson said councils were also seeking increased State Government funds to combat pests – including a further $5 million funding injection over 12 months to fund the North West Flood, Pest and Weed Initiative – allowing councils to undertake surveillance and control activities to prevent further infestations of prickly acacia, following the monsoon trough event in February in 2019.
This request has been outlined in the LGAQ’s State Budget submission, along with request for a $24 million funding boost for Queensland Parks and Wildlife over four years including $2 million a year to specifically combat pests.
“Councils already invest heavily in meeting their compliance and enforcement responsibilities under the Biosecurity Act 2014, allocating $45 million to the task every year,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Increased funding from the Queensland Government would significantly boost the ability of councils to control invasive species like prickly acacia which are having a devastating impact not only on agricultural productivity but also on the environment.”
The LGAQ is seeking a further $20 million over four years to continue the installation of cluster fencing.
AEC Group Pty Ltd has estimated that for every dollar spent controlling invasive plants and animals, $2.20 of agricultural benefits are derived.
For every dollar spent controlling invasive plants and animals, there are $3.00 worth of socio-economic and environmental benefits generated for the Queensland economy.
The economic impact of prickly acacia alone in Queensland as a result of reduced stocking rates has been estimated to be up to $200 million per year, not accounting for increased mustering and maintenance costs.
For cluster fencing, the RAPAD group estimates a return of $3.28 for every $1.00 of government investment.
The LGAQ’s State Budget submission is currently with the State Government for consideration.
More information on applying for Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program – Biosecurity Management of Pests and Weeds – Round 2 can be found via the Community Grants Hub website.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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