Local farmers battling wild dog attacks on livestock have been let down by the State Government again, after it failed to answer questions about the control program’s future in Parliament last week.
The Government took the axe to the wild dog control program in 2015, cutting the wild dog bounty and getting rid of the community advisory committee.
Asked in Parliament if the Community Advisory Committee and the Wild Dog Bounty would ever be restored, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford refused to answer.
“Wild dogs continue to have a sustained impact on livestock and native wildlife, but it’s nearly a year since the Minister took the axe to the wild dog control program without explanation,” Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said.
“Farmers were promised outcomes of the review this month, but the Minister has failed to deliver and all the while wild dog numbers continue to grow, and livestock and native fauna losses mount.”
Mr Bull said the five-year wild dog control program that was released in December 2013 was developed in close partnership between landowners, farming stakeholders and the Department.
“The previous plan put a high value on input from local communities and it was less than 18 months old when Labor put the axe through it for no good reason. The Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee was a vital link in the plan,” Mr Bull said.
“The Government also ended the successful $100 wild dog bounty last year, without any explanation.
“The bounty was a Lib-Nats initiative which gave hunters incentive to help with wild dog control and it saw more than 1500 pelts collected over three years.”
Mr Bull said the Government’s decision to split the Environment and Agriculture departments has also brought back the red tape nightmare for wild dog controllers.
“The dog controllers work for the Agriculture Department, and now they need to apply to the separate Environment Department to get 3km buffer zone permits,” he said.
“We are being told of lengthy delays in processing these permit applications which is completely unacceptable. The Government must not let livestock be put at risk because of departmental bureaucracy and red tape.”
Wednesday, September 21, 2016