Farmers across East Gippsland will have access to fencing rebates to keep wild dogs away from their livestock following a Federal Government funding announcement.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester announced $343,000 for East Gippsland Shire Council to coordinate a rebate system, covering 50% of the cost of wild dog exclusion fencing.
Mr Chester said the Federal Government recognised the enormous task of controlling pest animals, particularly during dry conditions.
“This funding will support farmers to install or upgrade fencing to protect their stock from wild dogs and other predators,” Mr Chester said.
“The drought has resulted in a lack of normal feeding habitat, which pushes wild dogs into farming properties resulting in increased stock losses.
“This funding will see 75km of wild dog exclusion fencing constructed with a matching 50% contribution from farmers.”
East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell said a rebate system of matching investment had been successful in the past as it created ownership and pride in works completed, that often exceeded the life of the project’s activities.
“As well as the immediate saving from protecting stock, fence construction projects will stimulate economic activity when landholders acquire fencing materials locally through agribusiness outlets,” Cr O’Connell said.
“The flow-on effects of increased sales will boost local revenue and provide employment for cartage contractors delivering the materials to properties.
“Other local suppliers of bagged cement, tools and associated fencing equipment will also benefit.”
The funding is being provided through the Federal Government’s Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program – Biosecurity Management of Pests and Weeds.
Mr Chester said this money was part of a package of environmental initiatives funded by the Federal Government worth nearly $900,000.
It includes support for four projects totalling almost $545,000 through the National Landcare Program’s Smart Farms Small Grants program.
“This is a significant funding package that will support projects that will make a meaningful difference to the natural environment, both on land and off the coast,” Mr Chester said.
“Gippsland farmers are some of the most environmentally-aware people I know. Their business profitability and longevity relies on caring for the land. For many, it’s a labour of love.
“If we can support them in looking after their properties by providing access to the latest practices and new thinking, then that’s money well spent.”
East Gippsland Landcare Network will get $95,200 to help farmers adopt best practice for profitable farming and a healthy environment.
The Project Platypus Association has secured $49,800 to support landowners establish areas that enhance or restore biodiversity and
help species adapt in a warmer climate.
Yarram Yarram Landcare Network will receive $200,000 to restore native seagrass in Corner Inlet and restore the habitat of local fish species.
South Gippsland Landcare Network has been allocated $199,925 to enhance soil biology by further implementing best practice soil management.
The four grants were funded under round 2 of the Smart Farms Small Grants program. Mr Chester said they were all innovative proposals that promised to improve farming practices and boost productivity.