Farmers, councils, industry groups and outback locals are invited to have their say on proposed changes to the use and management of Queensland’s vital stock routes, to ensure they are well maintained into the future.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart visited Charleville, Longreach and Ilfracombe last week, towns situated along primary stock routes, announcing that consultation on the Stock Routes Network discussion paper has opened.
“The Queensland stock route network has a long history of supporting landholders in moving livestock, providing pasture for emergency agistment in times of drought, and long-term grazing,” Stewart said.
“The stock route network is a key piece of infrastructure for Queensland’s $18.5 billion dollar agriculture sector – a sector the Palaszczuk Government is staunchly supporting as it’s vital to our state’s Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
“The 72,000km network is used to feed and move up to 330,000 stock each year across 48 local government areas.
“The proposed changes outlined in the discussion paper aim to create a better funded stock route network that provides better outcomes for the drovers and farmers that rely on the network each year.
“Queensland’s local councils are the primary caretakers of the network, ensuring routes in their areas are monitored and maintained.
“This includes regularly checking water facilities, undertaking weed and pest control and upgrading facilities where needed.
“To help maintain and upgrade the network, councils collect fees from network users, but currently this only represents about 4 per cent of the total funds they need to cover the costs.”
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin applauded the Minister’s leadership in moving this critical issue forward.
“We congratulate the Government in its decision to bring this to conclusion for the benefit of industry, communities and producers, and look forward to working closely and collaboratively with the Minister and other stakeholders,” he said.
“Our aspiration is that we will soon see a functional, active route for travelling stock that serves Queensland for centuries to come.”
Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson welcomed the release of the discussion paper.
“Queensland councils have been seeking stock route reform over several decades to ensure the future sustainability of the network, a critical resource for the state’s agricultural sector,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The LGAQ looks forward to working with the Minister, the department and our member councils as reform discussions continue.”
Consultation on the discussion paper closes on September 3.
An interactive consultation website is live where people can find out more information about Queensland’s stock route network and provide feedback via an online survey.
To get involved and provide your feedback on the discussion paper, visit www.haveyoursay.resources.qld.gov.au/stock-routes.