The Wild Dog Management Advisory Committee – which includes respected East Gippsland farmers who provide advice to the Andrews Labor Government – will be sacked at the end of this month.
In the past the Minister said this committee would “help Agriculture Victoria better understand grass roots issues” and boasted “we're putting farmers and community input at the centre of wild dog management across Victoria”.
Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said it was simply bizarre that in announcing she will sack the group, Minister Jaclyn Symes, said she would now rely on “bespoke information”.
“Given bespoke means to ‘speak for something’, we are none the wiser who this advice will come from, or what the comment really means. It is a strange statement indeed.
“I am sure farmers under attack from wild dogs in our region, who liked having local representatives on the ground providing input, will be disappointed to hear their voice has been removed, let alone the cryptic explanation.
“At the heart of effective wild dog control is input from those being impacted, those people on the ground who live with the impacts, but it is being removed,” said Mr Bull
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the Minister’s decision would have devastating consequences for landholders.
“It’s also incredibly traumatic for landholders to come across maimed lambs and livestock day, after day, after day.
“Labor’s more interested in protecting itself against losing city votes to the Greens than it is the welfare of livestock and our landholders,” he said.
The Andrews Government has worked for years to erode the important work of the Committee, appointing two members who have openly campaigned against certain wild dog control measures.
“This was an opportunity for the Agriculture Minister to show some teeth and stand against the city-centric, green agenda being pushed by Daniel Andrews and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.
“It is another step in the Andrews Government’s agenda to win preferences from the Greens and the Animal Justice Party,” Mr Walsh said.
Wild dog image courtesy of Doug Reed.