Wild Dog Control

Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (17:55): (400) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Agriculture, and it relates to the wild dog action plan. I am pleased that she is at the table so that she can hear this, and I am sure she will know what is coming. The action I seek is for the minister to agree to the continuity of the effective wild dog control program that really has, over a number of years, reduced the negative impacts on private land, national parks and state forests.

Classified under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, the feral and wild dog populations and hybrids have certainly had a significant impact and stress upon farmers and upon rural communities and the Victorian economy. Indeed if you have ever witnessed a wild dog attack or part thereof or the leftover from an attack on a lamb or sheep, it is a horrendous sight. The wild dog program uses a range of methods, such as baiting, exclusion fencing, trapping and shooting. The program employs, as the minister would know, 20 wild dog control staff. The key thing about this is the 3-kilometre protection zone, which is applied to public land on the edge of private property. I know the people who I have spoken with highlight the importance of keeping this exclusion zone to be able to mitigate the effects of losses of stock and not only stock but indeed native animals as well.

It was introduced in 2013 under a Nationals and Liberals government. From that time, it has had a 75 per cent reduction in stock impacts on properties adjoining public land in the east and the south-west of Victoria. One of my constituents, a fantastic gentleman, a Bendoc farmer – and that is about as far north-east as you can go in my electorate – Eddie Sellers, certainly endorses the use of permitted, regulated and department-specified 1080. He has actually gone to great lengths to put up cameras to see how, under that use, quolls have actually come back to the edge of his property. He has got records of that. He knows the devastation that wild dogs can cause – he understands, as do many others. I have been contacted by those who are entirely in favour of this wild dog management program; they feel that it is currently at risk. I would really appreciate, on behalf of Victorian livestock farmers, to be able to put it to bed and commit to this ongoing program once and for all.