Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O'Toole with Rick Cuffe and the newly completed wild dog exclusion fence.
Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O'Toole with Rick Cuffe and the newly completed wild dog exclusion fence.

‘No brainer’: Building a wild dog exclusion fence

THE first landholder to complete a Balonne Shire Council Special Rate Scheme funded wild dog exclusion fence said taking part in the scheme was a "no brainer".

Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O'Toole met with Rick Cuffe of Kimcey to mark the occasion of the first fence being completed under the scheme.

The Balonne Shire is the second Queensland council to offer a special rate scheme to landholders wanting to construct wild dog exclusion fencing.

Mr Cuffe said his family was looking forward to getting back into sheep once their property was completely fenced.

"We only have 5km of fencing left to do on the western side of the property and then we'll let the country recover before bringing sheep on to it in about six months," he said.

"We were into cattle and destocked due to the drought, but now the new fence has gone up we can get back into meat sheep.

"We're looking forward to having sheep back on this property as now we will be able to keep them in and the dogs out. It has given us a brighter future.

"We have pimelea on our country which isn't ideal for cattle, but meat sheep eat anything and this fence has changed the whole game."

He said the scheme was useful as it did not differentiate between cattle or sheep.

"A lot of other schemes had a preference for those already running sheep, so taking part in this scheme was an absolute no brainer," he said.

"The lambing rates here are really good - with favourable seasons you can get three lambings in two years which means we'll finally start to see an income.

"Council's scheme fitted in with our core operation as we are not making any money at the moment and the deferred payments definitely help. Once we've stocked with sheep we'll have money coming in to pay back the Council loan."

Cr O'Toole said Council had discussed the scheme in depth before deciding to go ahead. "This was a big commitment for a small shire such as ours and we needed to be sure it would be viable for Council and the region before we approved it," she said.

"I'm really pleased with the response we have had from our producers and proud to have been a part of the Council that made it a reality.

"Most producers were happy with this opportunity and very happy with a 20-year loan at less than 2% interest.

"Without this scheme there would be many producers who would not have the opportunity or finances to fence off their property to wild dogs, so it was a win-win situation all around."


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