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Partnerships and people power tackling pests on the Western Downs

Jake Hamilton from Lynns Creek, Condamine.

Western Downs Regional Council’s partnership with volunteer landholders and the Federal and State Governments has successfully eradicated 2,241 feral pigs and 252 wild dogs from the region since July 2018.

In June 2017, Council secured $249,700 in funding through the Federal and State Government’s Queensland Feral Pest Initiative (QFPI) to distribute to local pest management groups or individual landholders who could help tackle feral pests in the region.

Due for completion in June 2019, Council’s Pests, Partnership and People Power project has already partnered with eight groups, 550 landholders and two contractors across Condamine West, Guluguba, Inglestone, Jandowae North, Meandarra/Hannaford, Moonie, The Gums and Wambo to deliver on-ground results.

Council Spokesperson for Planning and Environment Councillor Andrew Smith said he was proud to see all three levels of Government working together with the community to achieve such great results.

“I am thrilled our community has been so successful in eradicating wild pests — 2,241 feral pigs and 252 wild dogs in the last eight months is no small feat,” he said.

“And to know we’ve eradicated 8,474 feral pigs and 596 wild dogs since the program began in July 2017 is just fantastic.

“We’ve seen time and time again the damage that wild dogs and pigs can do to livestock, crops and the environment so it’s great to know the Western Downs region and our hard-working landholders have made such an effort to counteract that.”

Rebecca Bidstrup said she started and coordinated the Condamine West Pest Management Group when she realised there were no groups to cover her property 50 kilometres south-west of Condamine.

Now, the Condamine West Pest Management Group involves 58 landholders and covers approximately 108,000 hectares of land between Condamine and the Maranoa Regional Council boundary.

Aerial shooting has been successful. Photo: Straight Shooter & Scott Bridle Helicopters

“I live on a mixed farming operation and pigs are a big concern for us because they obviously do damage to the crops, but we also have cattle and we’re concerned about the disease transmission and damage to infrastructure,” she said.

“I had heard about the things other Pest Management Groups were doing in our Council area and decided we needed a coordinator to cover my area of Condamine West, so I put my hand up.

“Not a lot of other Council areas have a program like this, so I think we’re lucky in the Western Downs to be able to access this kind of support to make it even more cost-effective.”

The Western Downs has led the way with feral pest management, achieving some of the best results within the state thanks to a strategic approach that combines aerial shoots, trapping and surveillance of problem pests.

For more information on the Pests, Partnership and People Power project or to apply for funding, call 1300 COUNCIL or visit www.wdrc.qld.gov.au/living-here/grants-and-funding/pest-management-funding-program.

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Media Contact:

Sophie Volker Senior Media Relations Officer 0419 048 594 4679 4137