New wild dog aerial baiting bid clears first hurdle

Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, has welcomed news the Victorian Coalition Government’s new application for aerial baiting to combat the destructive wild dog populations in East Gippsland will now proceed for public consultation.

Attending the annual gathering of Victoria’s Mountain Cattlemen’s Association, Mr Bull was on hand to hear the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, announce the revised application was submitted to the Commonwealth Government in December, as promised to farmers and land managers.

“It is now ready to proceed to the 20-day public consultation period required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act,” said Mr Bull.

“This is a positive step forward for Victoria’s application, beyond where we reached last time.

“If the application secures final approval from the Commonwealth, Victoria will be ready to deploy an aerial baiting program across six sites in North East Victoria and East Gippsland this autumn,” Mr Bull said.

Mr Walsh said Victoria has been greatly encouraged in dealing with a new Commonwealth Government that has more pragmatic views on aerial baiting for wild dog control.

“The revised application also included new information that the Victorian Government believes clearly demonstrates aerial baiting will not adversely impact spotted-tail quoll populations.

“This extra information includes the equivalent of 5,000 days of monitoring of animal movements taken by 113 remote cameras that were operating between December 2012 and March 2013. Quolls were not detected in the areas monitored,” Mr Walsh said.

“The previous Labor federal government rejected Victoria’s original application on ridiculous grounds, treating Victoria differently to New South Wales where aerial baiting has been permitted.

“However the Victorian Coalition has always believed that aerial baiting would provide valuable support to on-ground control measures like shooting, trapping and baiting, and the change of government in Canberra brought an opportunity to pursue the issue again.”

The revised aerial baiting application is the Victorian Coalition Government’s latest step in ongoing improvements to wild dog control.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has demonstrated strong and ongoing commitment to helping communities in the North East and East Gippsland combat these destructive and costly pests,” Mr Walsh said.

“In December I launched the Victorian Wild Dog Action Plan which, for the first time, will see local communities involved in the setting of operational targets and local area work plans for public and private land in each of the 15 wild dog management zones.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has achieved more advances in wild dog control in three years than the previous Labor government achieved over a decade.”

Victorian Coalition Government wild dog control initiatives since 2011 include: •    Starting regulatory work that will permit mobile fresh bait manufacture; •    Simplifying native vegetation clearance exemptions to help farmers who use boundary electric fences for wild dog control; •    Introducing the wild dog bounty and doubling it to $100. More than 1,000 pelts have since been handed in; •    Expanding community baiting programs, including working with private landowners to bait on public land; •    Restructured the Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee to provide government with strategic advice; •    Maintaining the 72 hour check rule for traps after Labor tried to reduce it; •    Cutting red tape to allow wild dog controllers to more easily work outside the 3km buffer; •    Increasing the strength of 1,080 baits; •    Baiting deeper than ever before into remote Crown Land; •    Reintroducing lanes traps; •    Moving to a flexible resource model, using contract and casual staff, with full support of the Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee