Woody Weed Infestation on Queensland Farms Larger Than Total Farming Land in Victoria
Frontier Impact Group Managing Director, Jennifer Lauber Patterson, has been in Queensland this week to meet with local landholders across North and North West Queensland, about the problem of woody weeds and to discuss a project to harvest them and turn them into renewable fuel.
“10 years ago, government research showed there were around 6.6 million hectares of grazing land infested by woody weeds," Ms Lauber Patterson said.
"Now, a decade on, we’ve been shown maps by locals indicating the problem is far worse, with estimates of 12 – 20 million hectares.
“To put that in perspective, 12 million hectares is more than the sum total of all land used for agriculture in Victoria! 20 million hectares is the sum total of land in Victoria!*”
According to Agriculture Victoria, 11.3 million hectares or 50% of the total land mass is used for agriculture production in Victoria, 42% cropping, 52% grazing, 6% other.
The woody weed issue is having a big impact on land productively and is placing landholders under financial pressure.
“It isn’t until you visit these communities and see the problem firsthand, that you can really appreciate how big a problem woody weeds, including Prickly Acacia, Chinee Apple, and Leucaena, have become for farmers in Queensland,” she said.
Ms Lauber Patterson was in Queensland to meet with landholders in Hughenden, Townsville, Charters Towers, Woodstock, and Ayr, to discuss a feasibility study Frontier Impact Group is undertaking to investigate a project to utilise locally-harvested woody weeds as feedstock for a renewable biorefinery, producing renewable diesel and other valuable by-products.
The meetings are in the wake of a media announcement by Flinders Shire Council this week that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Frontier Impact Group to sponsor the feasibility study.
"The key to the feasibility study will be to assess the cost of harvesting, collecting, and transporting the woody weeds to the renewable biorefinery," Ms Lauber Patterson said.
"The utilisation of woody weeds can become a resource that may provide significant economic benefits and jobs to the communities and enable Australia to produce fuel locally within the regions," she said.
Ms Lauber Patterson said there has been strong engagement and discussion on the topic by local Councillors and community leaders as well as landholders from Townsville to Charters Towers, from Ayr and Woodstock out to Hughenden.
"I would particularly like to thank Sandra Richards, our North Queensland Project Coordinator, Flinders Shire Council, and all the local and regional media for their support in promoting the meetings and the project," she said.
7 News Townsville - https://www.facebook.com/7NEWSTownsville/videos/661746145691087/
North Queensland Register - Front page story (see below)
Australian Rural & Regional News - Flinders Shire exploring project to convert ‘cane toads of the plant world’ into renewable fuel
Bioenergy Insight - Council in North Queensland embarks upon biomass-to-fuel project
Inside Local Government - Flinders Shire signs on to renewable fuel study
Queensland Country Life – North west landholders invited to contribute woody weed biomass to renewable energy plan
The North West Star - North west landholders invited to contribute woody weed biomass to renewable energy plan
NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER Thursday, November 24, 2022