First landholders sign up to WDEF special rate scheme

The first landholder agreements for the Balonne Shire Council’s Special Rate Scheme for the wild dog exclusion fencing (WDEF) program were signed.

Acting Mayor Fiona Gaske said Council had now met with all landholders that were approved for the special rate scheme and had finalised material lists for a majority of them.

“Suppliers and contractors have been set up in our Vendor Panel system and quotations have started to come through for the scheme,” she said.

“There has been some delays in getting the scheme rolling due to landholders waiting to see what other grant programs were available, but there are three properties officially signing up.

“We have more than $472,000 in materials and services ready to be ordered so the landholders can get started on their fences.”

Cr Gaske said Council needed all approved landholders to sign off on their agreements before 31 January 2020.

“From there Council will determine if any further funds are available under the special rate scheme,” she said.

“If funding is still available Council has the option to call for further applications in the lead up to the 2020/2021 budget.”

Balonne Shire Council made the historic decision to implement this scheme at a meeting on 21 February 2019. Councillors voted unanimously to support Shire landholders wanting to fence their properties through a special rate levied over 20 years.

When announcing the historic decision, Mayor Richard Marsh said Council believed WDEF would provide many ongoing benefits including boosting our economy and economic resilience, arresting population decline through increasing job numbers and improving biosecurity over the whole of the shire by closing fencing gaps and pest access corridors.

“Based on the expressions of interest Council has received we expect the WDEF to increase sheep numbers by an estimated 100,000 and boost our regional economy by $15 million per year within 10 years – which is an excellent return on our investment in the region,” he said.

Anyone wanting more information on the special rate scheme can contact Council on 07 4620 8888.

Source: Balonne Shire Council