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VFF calls for commitment to manage wild dogs

The Victorian Farmers Federation, VFF, is calling for several key government commitments to ensure farmers have confidence and certainty going forward.

VFF president Emma Germano met with Victorian Minister for Agriculture Ros Spence to explain the dire situation facing some farmers, and outlined several recommendations to avoid a repeat of the current situation.

“We warned that lifting the unprotection order for dingoes in the north-west would result in livestock maulings and deaths and sadly that’s exactly what’s happened,” she said.

“The blindsided nature of this announcement left farmers and communities completely unprepared and that’s simply not good enough.”

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In response, the VFF has tabled the below to the State Government, including:

• A commitment to re-establish the Wild Dog Management Advisory Committee to help ensure future decisions are informed directly by the knowledge and experience of livestock producers.

• A commitment to support and fund wild dog management activities that give farmers and communities the suite of tools, which are proven to achieve outcomes.

• A commitment to support producers in the north-west with relevant information; to provide expedited decision-making and granting of Authority to Control Wildlife permits; and an expedited review of the government’s revocation of the unprotection order.

Ms Germano urged farmers to report all interactions with wild dogs to Agriculture Victoria to place further pressure on the State Government to act.

“We know this decision is leading to more wild dog attacks on livestock,” she said.

“To help build the case for action, it’s crucial that farmers report all interactions with wild dogs to Agriculture Victoria, especially attacks on livestock and the number of stock impacted.

“Farmers in the north-west can also apply for Authority to Control Wildlife permits to manage dingoes through the government.

“It’s a sorry state of affairs when it’s left to us farmers to demonstrate the destruction of this decision, rather than consulting with us before it actually happens. Our goal is to directly show the government their actions have consequences and to trigger an urgent rethink.”

The government publicly advised late on March 14 the dingo unprotection order would conclude in north west Victoria, effectively that day.

It claimed the decision followed ‘new research, strong advice and the effectiveness of non-lethal dingo control methods to protect livestock’.

It said farmers in the area would be supported by a $550,000 funding pool to adopt alternate non-lethal control methods such as exclusion fencing and guardian animals. 

The funding would also support the management of other pests including feral goats, wild pigs and foxes. 

In other parts of Victoria, dingo control measures remain unchanged, with the dingo unprotection order for eastern Victoria remaining in place until October 1.

Environment Minister Steve Dimopoulos said dingoes played an important role in the ecosystem and while dingo numbers were much greater in other parts of the state, they remained a threatened species and were protected under the Wildlife Act. 

Where livestock are being significantly impacted and there are no other control options available, all farmers – including those in north-west Victoria – can apply for an Authority to Control Wildlife permit to use lethal control methods.

The changes also mean the wild dog component of the current Fox and Wild Dog Bounty Program would not continue in the north-west, but the fox bounty would continue.

The Weekly Times reported last week Animals Australia dropped its Supreme Court case against the State Government’s dingo control program on March 19, just four days after the government agreed to protection order in the state’s north-west.

The move stunned farmers, who had been assured by Mr Dimopoulos and Ms Spence they and other stakeholders would be consulted on the dingo control review that was due to be finalised later this year.

The Weekly Times reported both ministers had refused to answer why the case had been dismissed and if some sort of deal had been struck with Animals Australia.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy, also the Opposition’s agricultural spokesperson, said she was committed to working with all farmers in the area to help them deal with the changes that caught everyone by surprise and were introduced without consultation with the industry or landholders.

Ms Kealy said she would continue to advocate to the government to ensure farmers were supported and had the necessary mechanisms to ensure they could continue to effectively control wild dogs on their properties and protect their livelihoods.

She met with the Yanac Broughton VFF Landcare Group earlier this month and is assisting Lawloit farmer Alan Bennett to obtain a signoff for a permit on his property.

RELATED: Sheep kills ‘absolutely heartbreaking’ for Mallee farmers


The entire April 24, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire April, 24, 2024 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!