Labor opposes wild dog aerial baiting

metropolitan Labor Party branch has condemned aerial baiting, which is used as one method to limit wild dogs slaughtering more livestock and native wildlife.

State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said aerial baiting has been sought by a number of local farmers for many years as an additional tool to fight what is a massive problem in our region and after having refusals from the Federal Labor Government, it has recently commenced under the State and Federal Coalition Governments.

“I now read that one of their bigger metro branches recently voted unanimously to condemn aerial baiting, an essential tool for controlling wild dog populations. I wonder if any of those metropolitan based people have any idea about this issue at all,” Mr Bull said.

“They obviously have no understanding about the real and devastating impacts wild dogs have on livestock producers, both financially and emotionally.”

Labor’s agriculture spokeswoman Jacinta Allan has also exposed her ignorance on the topic, claiming in The Weekly Times this week that Labor had “always supported aerial baiting as a means of controlling wild dog populations…”. This is simply not true.

"The fact is the previous Federal Labor Government repeatedly rejected Victoria’s aerial baiting applications, which is now taking place under strict controls after a change of Federal Government.

"While the impacts on farmers are devastating, it is also about native wildlife. I have had many local bush lovers tell me they no longer see wallabies, emus and other wildlife in areas where they were plentiful have and even witnessed native animals being chased down by dogs. Late last year a local dogger told me he even found echidna quills in a wild dog scat.

“We need to do everything we can and the Victorian Coalition Government is committed to putting as many control measures in the tool box as possible, with aerial baiting complementing other control measures like trapping, ground baiting, shooting and exclusion fencing.

"While we still have a serious problem, the Victorian Coalition Government has achieved more in wild dog control in three years than the previous Labor government achieved over a decade. Some of the changes this Government has made include:

•    Re-introduced the Lanes traps at the request of doggers and local community members. These were banned by the previous Government.

•    Introduced the wild dog and fox bounty that has seen over 1100 wild dogs destroyed and handed in - and then doubled the wild dog bounty in January 2013 to $100.

•    This month introduced aerial baiting.

•    Established and grown community baiting programs with many land holders now participating.

•    Maintained 72 hour trap checking for doggers (which the previous Government had on the agenda to reduce to 24hrs) to allow doggers more flexibility to go about their business.

•    Restructured the wild dog management group with stronger Tambo Valley representation.

•    Allowed farmers to undertake dog control measures outside their boundary as part of their co-ordinated baiting programs - with the intention to grow this in more areas.

•    Made it easier for doggers to work outside the 3km buffer zone when required with a maximum 72 hour turn around for permission, but usually within 24 hours. This effectively removes the 3km restriction and has been utilised by doggers.

•    Now setting up local wild dog management zone work plans with local input on actions to be undertaken.

•    Provided ipads to the doggers so data can be entered in the field, removing the need for doggers to spend time in offices and this allowing more time in the field.

•    Now employing contractor and casual staff to provide more flexibility to the dog control program and allowing for the use of younger doggers to be employed, which is being done with some of the contractors/casuals being employed being in their 30’s and 40’s – this is the basis of a transition plan.

“Labor’s members want wild dog baiting stopped, and regional people can bet their last dollar that’s what the Labor Party will do if elected.”