More flexibility in wild dog control measures
The Victorian Coalition Government will soon commence a new wild dog community baiting program in East Gippsland.
"The program will involve Department of Primary Industries (DPI) wild dog controllers working with volunteer landowners in the Ensay area to bait adjoining public land," said State Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull.
"The other pleasing aspect of this is that DPI will now also start baiting on public land outside the established three kilometre livestock protection zone. This will see wild dog controllers working deeper into public land than before.
"This is on top of the additional ground baiting program that was announced last week in place of the proposed aerial baiting program that has been stalled by the Commonwealth Government."
Mr Bull said that while these measures provided more flexibility around dog control, it was a combination of all control measures, including trapping and shooting that was required.
Minister for Agriculture and Food security, Peter Walsh, said the additional ground baiting work is already underway in remote areas of public land that have not previously been baited, including on and off tracks.
"It comes on top of the extension of baiting efforts deeper into Crown land in the Nunniong Plateau and Deddick-Tubbut areas, and is also in addition to extra baiting that started last week in 12 new remote and hard to access locations."
“This program came about from a meeting in Ensay earlier this year where the community expressed interest in being permitted to bait on public land as well as on their own properties.
“DPI officers have worked with local residents to guide them through what is required when baiting on public land, and baiting efforts will start from next week.
“This is a sensible initiative which gives communities affected by wild dogs the opportunity to work with DPI and take greater control of baiting in their own area.”
“Wild dogs are an established predatory pest in Victoria and have devastating impacts on native fauna, livestock, and the profitability of farmers,” Mr Walsh said.
“The most effective way to manage wild dogs is to use a combination of control methods, with the community and Government working together co-operatively.”
“Work will be undertaken in the Nunniong Plateau and Deddick-Tubbut areas in response to reported persistent attacks on livestock. Planning for this work has been completed and baiting is also scheduled to begin in November this year,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Coalition Government has not given up on aerial baiting and will continue to pursue the matter with the Commonwealth,” Mr Walsh said.
$650,000 for flood recovery in Cann River
A total of $650,000 has been allocated to East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority to undertake waterway restoration on the Cann River.
The works will reduce sediment entering the Tamboon Inlet, stabilise the floodplain and prevent large scale river deepening and widening.
Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, visited Cann River today and said earlier this year the area experienced widespread flooding which caused significant damage and also impacted on areas of river health improvement works.
“The funding is part of the Victorian Government’s $5 million 2012 Flood Support Program providing additional support to regions that have experienced significant floods during 2012.
“The 12-18 month program will boost local employment opportunities and improve environmental conditions for tourism businesses following the damage caused by the floods.”
The program is funded through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
“A healthy environment must be protected for future generations for social use and economic benefits. The 2012 Flood Support Program will support the delivery of projects that provide environmental, economic and social benefits to flood-affected communities,” said Mr Bull.
“The 2012 Flood Recovery Program will be overseen by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and delivered through Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs).”
East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Dear said, “the EGCMA thanks the Coalition Government for supporting its proposal to finish the important flood restoration works on the Cann River.”
Across the state 15 projects have been funded through the Flood Support Program.
$2 million for new cattle underpass program
The Victorian Coalition Government has introduced a new $2 million Cattle Underpass Scheme to support the installation of road underpasses for livestock, creating an easy and safer option for cattle crossings on country roads.
“This is a great win for the farmers in Gippsland East, including those in the Macalister Irrigation District, who have been advocating for the return of the program,” said Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull.
“It is fantastic the State Coalition government has responded to Victorian farmers by boosting the funding available under this program.”
“The previous maximum of $30,000 has been significantly increased, with farmers now able to apply for up to $50,000 or 33% of the construction costs for building a new cattle underpass”.
The CUPS program has four core objectives: • Improving road safety; • Advancing workplace safety for farmers and their employees; • Developing farm efficiency and productivity; and • Removing impediments to the expansion of dairy farms and industry growth.
“The cattle underpasses program is a fantastic initiative benefiting both the farmers and the broader community by allowing farmers to move their cattle safely where the property traverses a country road without impacting other road users,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull said the CUPS project is administered by the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) on behalf of Regional Development Victoria (RDV), who provided the funding from the Victorian Coalition Government’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the Coalition Government is committed to driving development across the State, to ensure regional Victoria remains a key contributor to our future growth and prosperity.
“The CUPS program is a key example of why the Regional Growth Fund was a valuable asset in improving infrastructure and services in regional Victoria,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Coalition Government constantly aims to create new opportunities for economic growth into regional towns. It is about strengthening local communities; building networks; creating opportunities; and delivering growth, employment and improved facilities,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Bull said, “I am encouraging our local farmers to ensure they get their applications in early for the new program.”
Bountiful year for Gippsland East wild dog and fox shooters
The Victorian Government’s fox and wild dog bounty has reached its first anniversary, with almost 117,000 scalps handed in since 1 October last year.
Gippsland East farmers and shooters contributed to the Coalition Government’s initiative with over 2,200 fox scalps and wild dog skins collected, bringing obvious benefits to the farming community in our region.
Bairnsdale’s collection centre had the most wild dog skins collected in the State with Omeo farmer Russell Foster collecting 37 skins, being the most by an individual.
“This highlights the significant wild dog issue facing our livestock farmers and Russell and others should be congratulated for their efforts in helping to control the wild dog problem in the Omeo region”, said Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull.
Foxes and wild dogs are a significant problem for livestock farmers so it’s good to know there are nearly 117,000 less roaming Victorian land unable to terrorise lambs and calves.
While the bounty might not cover all the hunter’s costs, it does recognise their efforts and offers an incentive for more to take part in controlling foxes and wild dogs.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the former Labor Government’s ad-hoc Fox Stop program only managed to eradicate 20,000 foxes over three years.
The Coalition Government’s bounty exceeded the total Fox Stop figures in less than five months, Mr Walsh said.
“We have set a bounty at $10 per fox and $50 per wild dog, with more than $1.17 million flowing into hunters’ pockets in the first year.”
“Providing a bounty for wild dog skins as well as fox scalps complemented the Coalition Government’s wild dog control programs.”
“Effective wild dog control requires a combination of measures such as baiting, trapping and shooting,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Commonwealth Government has stalled our application for aerial baiting this year, so we have acted on advice from the Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee to use funds for extra ground baiting in areas that have not previously been baited.”
“However, we have not given up on aerial baiting and will continue to pursue our application with the Commonwealth.”
For collection centre opening times and full details of the terms and conditions for the fox and wild dog bounty, go to www.dpi.vic.gov.au/bounty or contact the Department of Primary Industries Customer Service Centre on 136 186.