Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar has refuted claims State Government-funded cluster fencing is being used to inhumanely destroy kangaroos in Western Queensland.
“The Queensland Feral Pest initiative was established to protect prime sheep grazing country from the scourge of wild dogs and that’s what it’s done,” Mr Millar said.
“Wild dogs, coupled with five years of unprecedented drought conditions across Western Queensland, have had the sheep and wool industry on its knees.
“Cluster fencing has been a game-changer in Western Queensland - lambing rates have increased from 20 to 90 per cent and for the first time in years, we’re seeing wool prices at 1500 cents per kilogram clean.
“This program has helped restored industry confidence to the region – it’s bringing people back to towns like Longreach, Blackall and Muttaburra and providing job opportunities for our young people.
“If fully funded, the cluster fencing program in Western Queensland will bring one million sheep back to the region, providing a benefit of $3.76 per year for every $1 of government expenditure not only for graziers, but for small businesses in town.
“For this reason, I will not accept accusations that Western Queensland graziers, many of whom consider themselves environmentalists and care about the native landscape, are using the State Government cluster fencing program to cruelly kill kangaroos.
“This program is about enabling landholders to manage total grazing pressure.
“Graziers have had to substantiate the impact wild dogs have had on their property in order to secure funding under the cluster fencing program.
“To suggest the targets of the program are not being met, is simply incorrect.
“The program has also consciously tried to respect environmental corridors and avoid completely inhibiting the migratory patterns of native animals, particularly around natural watering points.
“The fact of the matter is, kangaroos are in plague proportions in Western Queensland.
“Mitigation activities have been undertaken by landholders long before the cluster fencing program was established and will continue after the program has finished.
“The State Government recognises the need for kangaroo mitigation, which is why they issue damage mitigation permits to landholders each year to humanely manage local kangaroo populations.
“However if anyone has evidence of cruelty to animals, they should immediately report it to the proper authorities.”