In 2006 the Desert Uplands Committee (DUC) was successful in obtaining $440,000 for weed control across the seven Shires in the Desert Uplands Bioregion. Blueprint for the Bush Weed Project was part of the Queensland Government’s Blueprint for the Bush, a 10-year plan to build a sustainable, liveable and prosperous rural Queensland.
The proposal put to Government was to utilise the Rural Lands Officers (RLOs) employed by the Shire Councils to organise the weed control measures. These are the people who know the strategic areas that need to be treated. Also by using already available resources and not employing a Project Officer, more dollars were spent on ground activities.
All seven Shire Councils contributed to, and supported the project. They supplied the RLO, car and internal administration costs for the project. The Shire Councils were able to use 30% of their allocated funding on stock routes and town commons in the Desert Uplands Region and the remainder went to landholders. The RLOs contacted landholders, organised spraying contractors and monitored progress of the work undertaken whilst the landholders supplied their chemicals and diesel.
A Management Agreement with landholders commits them to continuing treatment after the project’s completion of funding. Landholders also were responsible for filling in a diary to follow the progress of the treatments, with before, during & after photos taken at the same GPS location. This allowed concise reporting to Government and also assist the mapping of weeds on grazing properties.
Each Council received an equal amount of the funding and the project rans for two years. The two Regional Bodies, Desert Channels Queensland and Burdekin Dry Tropics NRM both supported and contributed financially to the project. Letters of support were also supplied by Central Highlands Natural Resource Management Group, Aramac Landcare Group, and Rural Lands Officers – Emerald & Blackall. The seven shires involved were Blackall, Barcaldine, Jericho, Aramac, Flinders, Dalrymple and Belyando.