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Western region update

October 2014

Grant application video tips

We’ve developed a series of short videos to help make it easier for people to complete their applications for our fencing and erosion control grant funding program. Up to $1.3 million in grant funding is on offer to landholders and community groups in the Western Local Region.
A staff member will be allocated to work with each applicant to help them with their final application by mid-November. The videos include a tutorial showing you what’s expected in the application, as well as giving some examples of previous projects and tips from other applicants. Pictured is Mick Davis of Myandetta Station, near Bourke, with Jennifer Azevedo who both feature in the videos. View the videos on our YouTube channel.
Expressions of interest have now closed for this funding. Only people who expressed an interest are eligible to apply for funding. See below for details about south area grant funding to address weed and pest management issues.

Board update

At the October meeting of the Western Local Board in Cobar, a number of Governance matters progressed. Headlining this was the endorsement of four Board committees, which will provide advice on the key areas of:
  • Audit and Risk
  • Productivity and Performance
  • Emergency Response and Capability
  • Strategy and Future Development.
As you will see from the article below, Australian Government Funding is a significant revenue source for the Local Land Services Western Region.  With funding due to expire on 31 December this year and the National Landcare Program due to be implemented on 1 January, the Board undertook considerable planning for the next three years' funding.
At the Board meeting, Robert Wason was appointed as the Western Local Board representative on the Great Artesian Basin Advisory Group.

Budget overview

The $12.7 million budget for Local Land Services Western Region for 2014-15 brings together all of our activities in agricultural production advice, biosecurity, natural resource management and emergency management.  With respect to rate revenue, it provides 9.5% of our total income. This $1.2 million supports our biosecurity functions, which cost nearly $1.7 million to provide. This includes:
  • plant disease
  • livestock health
  • pest control
  • weed control
  • chemical residue awareness
  • management of travelling stock reserve
  • administration of stock identification systems
  • local administration of drought and other natural disaster relief.
With a vast area that covers 40% of NSW, from Queensland to the Victorian border, our staff are working closely with farmers, landholders and communities to reflect regional priorities within the Local Land Services charter.

Pest management issues

Grants for pest and weed control
Southern district landholders and community groups are being encouraged to apply for grant funding for pest animal and weed control. Applications close at 9am on Monday 17 November.
This is the first round of funding for pest control in the south since the formation of Local Land Services Western Region. The funding is focused on pest animal control including pigs, foxes and rabbits as well as weed control for boxthorn, boneseed and cactus varieties.
One of the aims of this project is to promote a collaborative approach to pest animals and noxious weed control, with neighbouring landholders working together to achieve long-term benefits.
All grant funding will be on a cost share basis and successful applicants will enter into a five-year contract with Local Land Services. Download an application form  or talk to the staff at your local office to find our more.
Download the application form

Baiting program reaches inaccessible areas
A plane on the runway at Wanaaring
The largest coordinated wild dog baiting program ever seen in the Western Local Region has resulted in approximately 150,000 baits being distributed this spring. The program spread will reach more than 250 properties, with aerial baits alone covering a distance of 2,680km.

More than $150,000 in funding and in-kind support has been provided for the aerial and ground baiting program in the Western Local Region this spring. Evidence from several groups suggests that some landholders already have experienced increases of up to 50% in lambing rates this spring as a result of our baiting programs.
A number of pest animal groups have been involved in the baiting program and Local Land Services Western Region welcomes more landholders forming groups to address the issue in their area. Landholders who missed out on this program can still become involved in a program scheduled for next autumn.
To find out about programs in your area, contact the Biosecurity Officer at your closest Local Land Services office for details of the nearest pest control group.
Be alert for locusts
With the weather warming up quickly, landholders across the Western Local Region need to be proactive and report signs of locust activity to help ensure coordinated control for the spring hatching season. Pockets of activity are expected in the far west and Riverina. 

Moderate to higher density pockets of infestation have been identified north of Broken Hill, to Tibooburra and White Cliffs.

The numbers involved do not represent a general threat to agricultural production or regional environments. Individual landholders may, however, want to consider undertaking spot control of higher density infestations to reduce the potential for isolated crop or pasture damage.
Detailed information from landholders about any locust activity, including egg beds that have been laid or potential hatchings, is important for coordinating a regional response.
Landholders should report any locust activity to their Local Land Services staff to allow for  inspections. Insecticide is available to landholders to control locusts that meet spraying requirements. Bands of locusts form about 2-3 weeks after hatching, which is the most efficient and cost-effective time to control them to minimise the impact on crops and pasture. More information is available about plague locusts on the DPI website.
Brucellosis warning
There have been a number of recent media reports of hunting dogs being infected by brucellosis, as well as human infections from handling wild pigs. Landholders are reminded to keep contact with feral pigs, by-products and hunting dogs that may be infected with brucellosis to a minimum and take all possible safety precautions.
Landholders are reminded to avoid feeding domestic animals on raw feral pig meat and not to consume feral pig parts, or keep and fatten feral pigs. Consult a vet if your dogs develop enlarged testicles or bitches have reproductive problems.

Livestock management

Lead poisoning risk in cattle

Cattle producers have been warned to check their properties for old batteries near cattle yards and areas where stock are grazing after several cattle deaths from lead poisoning.
NSW DPI Veterinary Officer Charlotte Cavanagh said inquisitive cattle are more susceptible to lead poisoning because of their tendency to ‘taste test’ items such as old batteries, flaking lead paint, sump oil, ashes and diesel.
The first sign of lead poisoning is often finding dead stock. Where affected animals are found alive, they may be blind, show signs of depression, wander aimlessly and be unresponsive. High lead levels can persist for many months in the liver and kidney of stock and most treatment attempts are unrewarding.
Landholders are urged to check sheds and paddocks for batteries and to consider reviewing the security of other farm areas that pose potential poisoning risks, including chemical stores, chemical handling areas, spray gear and stores of treated seed grain.

Sheep vendor declarations

Sheep producers have been urged to check they are using the most up-to-date National Vendor Declaration (NVD) form or risk their stock being ineligible for the export market.

NVD forms earlier than the 2013 version make the meat from sheep sent to saleyards ineligible for entry into some European countries and may impact on the sale price.
In completing and signing an NVD, the seller provides the buyer with a guarantee relating to the food safety status of the animals they are purchasing and allows the livestock movements to be traced if necessary.
Also a reminder that you need a current (July 2013) version of the Sheep Health Statement, as well as the NVD if you are bringing in sheep from outside the Western Local Region. This documentation should be lodged with your nearest Local Land Services office within seven days of moving the animals. 
You can order a new NVD booklet online or by phoning the Livestock Production Assurance helpline on 1800 683 111.

Community feedback

Landholder survey
Daniel Linklater completing the online surveyCongratulations and thank you to all who have submitted their landholder survey. If you haven’t sent in your completed questionnaire, it’s not too late to contribute.

The survey has been designed to provide key insights into landholder views, expectations, production issues and capacity. Your input will be help us gather baseline data and to plan and develop future programs.
The survey was funded by the Australian Government Caring for Country monitoring and evaluation budget. As a small compensation for your knowledge and time, you will be offered the choice of receiving a $30 IGA Supermarket voucher or having a $30 donation made to the Royal Flying Doctor Service on your behalf. 
Your participation in the survey is voluntary and should take about 20 minutes to complete. Surveys can be completed and returned in the reply-paid envelopes or alternatively, you can complete the survey online.
Aboriginal community survey

Aboriginal community members have been invited to take part in a survey focused on Aboriginal community involvement in Local Land Services. Our Senior Land Services Officers - Aboriginal Communities will be attending events throughout the region with a iPad to help people complete the survey. In recognition of their time and effort, participants will receive a $10 IGA voucher.

If you wish to take part, talk to: 
South of Broken Hill and Cobar: Ronni O’Donnell, ph 03 5021 9429 or email Ronni
North of Broken Hill and Cobar: Blackie Gordon (pictured), ph 0428 607 536 or email Blackie 

New advisory committees to be formed

The Western Local Board is keen to have community input into its priorities and activities. As a result, we will soon be calling expressions of interest for membership to form several Local Community Advisory Groups and Aboriginal Community Advisory Groups.
The groups will work with the Board and staff by guiding and informing the management of the organisation. If you would like us to send you an Expression of Interest package, email us with your contact details.

Upcoming events

Gilgunnia Station Field Day

Thursday 13 November
This event is in conjunction with Soils for Life and includes information about the Western Division Resilient Landscapes Project, a mentoring program funded by the Rotary Club of Sydney.
Gilgunnia Station, 34km NW of Cobar on the Louth Rd
Details and RSVP – Kerry Johnson, 6836 1575 or send an email
Learn more about the mentoring program at the Soils for Life website

Hog hopper workshops

As series of one-day pig control workshops will be held across the southern region during November. The workshops will be hosted by Barry Kelly from ‘Got a Bug’. The workshops will cover how to set up, use and monitor Hog Hoppers, pig traps and trail cameras.

Landholders, other agencies, Landcare and farmer groups are welcome to attend. The workshops will be held in Wentworth, Balranald, and Hillston. Landholders who attend will receive Trap Handlers accreditation and certificate of attendance.
 Dates and venues to be confirmed – email Tanya Cooper  to register your interest in attending.

Seed collection workshop

Daryl Walters form Mallee Land Management Services will host a two-day seed collection workshop in the Buronga area in November.  The workshop will concentrate on Sand Hill Pine communities, including White Cypress and Slender Cypress Pine. The aim of the workshop is to raise awareness of the lack of pine in the region and to improve knowledge about seed collection, cleaning and storage, while also creating a local seed bank.

The workshop is open to Landcare groups, Aboriginal groups and other interested community members. Date and venue to be confirmed – email Tanya Cooper to register your interest in attending.
We welcome your feedback about this newsletter. Limited hardcopies are available by contacting your Local Land Services office, however, by the end of 2014 the newsletter will only be circulated electronically.

Local Land Services Western Region
Freecall: 1300 795 299