TRAPPING and baiting initiatives will be the focus for the long-awaited $5 million election pledge made by the state government to tackle problems caused by wild dogs and feral cats.
Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne announced this week its feral pest initiative was now open for expressions of interest.
"After broad consultation with local governments and key stakeholders we can today announce $4 million will be available over the next three years to support projects in drought-affected areas to trap and bait wild dogs," he said.
"In addition we are making $1 million available for feral cat research that will support future programs in national parks and key private conservation reserves."
The initiative aims to dovetail with federal government funding for cluster fencing in high-priority areas where there are high densities of wild dogs and significant evidence of impacts on livestock.
It was a key election promise of the ALP and has been "fast-tracked" by the government since April.
Mr Byrne said he had wanted to establish the best way forward
with the funding before making any announcement.
"Over recent months I have had a number of discussions with graziers, councillors and peak bodies, and I have seen for myself the terrible consequences of wild dog populations," he said.
The group recommending the way forward included representatives of the Queensland Farmers Federation, AgForce, the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Queensland Conservation Council and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.
In addition to the $5 million from the state government, it recommended that most of the $10 million in federal drought assistance funding for pest and weed management in the 2015/16 financial year be allocated to support regionally agreed cluster fencing arrangements in areas with high wild dog density and evidence of high impacts.
"We are now calling for expressions of interest from local authorities, regional natural resource management groups and key stakeholder groups wanting to run feral pest control programs," Mr Byrne said.
"Proposals for funding will need to be evidence-based with clear goals that can be monitored."
Priority will be given to projects in Paroo, Murweh, Quilpie, Barcaldine, Longreach, Blackall-Tambo, Barcoo, Winton, Flinders, Bulloo, Maranoa, Balonne, Southern Downs, Western Downs and Goondiwindi shires.
Applications from shires outside these areas would receive a lower-priority grading.
"By working together with interest groups and landholders this funding will reduce the number of wild dog attacks on livestock, and the threat they also pose to human and domestic animal safety," Mr Byrne said.
"Through commitment and collaboration, feral cats will also be better managed to reduce the impact they have on biodiversity." For further information about feral cats and wild dogs contact 13 25 23 or visit the DAF website.