The Palaszczuk Government is investing millions of dollars in rural and regional communities in the 2018-19 budget to provide relief and support where it is most needed, including $5 million over two years for wild dog exclusion cluster fencing in western and southern Queensland.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said biosecurity was an important focus in the $481.7 million Agriculture and Fisheries budget, with continuing efforts to eradicate Fire Ants and stopping any further spread of threats such as Panama disease.
“This amount of funding represents an increase of almost $57 million when compared to last year’s budget allocation,” the Mr Furner said.
“With more than half of our state still in drought, the Queensland Government will continue to maintain existing drought relief arrangements to drought affected communities with up to $34.6 million in 2018-19 for the whole-of-government Drought Assistance Package, up to $20 million of which will be available under the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme.
“There is $3.3 million ($10 million over three years) for the Rural Economic Development Grants Scheme, which promotes agricultural industry development and jobs in rural communities, and a further $1 million ($3 million over three years) for the successful Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance and to extend the Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network.
“We planning for the future by providing $1 million over two years for research, development and extension in pulse storage to support the rapidly expanding chickpea and pulses industry, and $400,000 to tackle fruit flies in Bundaberg through a regional agriculture data collection trial with Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.”
Mr Furner said the fisheries sector will benefit from 20 more compliance officers across the State, appointed in 2017-18, including 16 in the Great Barrier Reef region.
“There will also be additional monitoring, harvest strategies for all fisheries, and vessel tracking on all crab, net and line boats due to be put in place by the end of 2018,” he said.
“We’ll continue to implement the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017−2027 announced last year which provided additional funding of $20.9 million over three years to ensure that fisheries resources are managed in a sustainable and responsible manner that recognises the interests of all Queenslanders,” he said.
“More than $7.8 million has been allocated in 2018-19 to support the Strategy, which will include working with industry to help minimise the costs associated with vessel tracking.
“We will also be developing a new policy on the future of timber production in state−owned native forests.”
Additional budget measures include capital grants of:
- $879,000 for the upgrade of RSPCA facilities in North Queensland
- $500,000 to support the Queensland Country Women's Association in preserving heritage halls in rural and regional Queensland
- $300,000 for Paws and Claws to help with the purchase of land for relocation of its current animal shelter facilities
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner