With wild dogs causing havoc in East Gippsland Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath has questioned the Andrews Government over its lack of wild dog control measures.
Ms Bath said Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford dismissed the Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee in November, scrapped the wild dog bounty and had provided little in this year’s budget to address the problem which was resulting in stress and financial losses for Gippsland farmers.
“Based on what is currently known, the experts— and often the experts are the farmers and landowners themselves — and the Victorian Farmers Federation have said that the wild dog bounty was very successful,” Ms Bath said.
“It is an issue I know has been raised by my colleague, Tim Bull on several occasions in the Parliament.”
Ms Bath said wild dogs had caused mass devastation to stock in East Gippsland with many farmers reporting an increase in attacks.
“The wild dog bounty during the time it was operating resulted in over 1500 pelts being handed in and as a result getting that number of animals off properties and farms,” Ms Bath said.
“In relation to this year’s budget my question is: why has the government cut the wild dog bounty program?”
Ms Bath said the Minister had responded with more talk and little action, saying a review was being undertaken by the Government to determine the best wild dog control measures.
“If or when this task force comes back and makes a report and that report comments that the wild dog bounty should be reintroduced, will the government then commit to reintroducing the very successful bounty?”
Ms Bath said not surprisingly no commitments for a bounty were made.
Meanwhile she welcomed a five-year $20 million federal Coalition commitment to continue coordinating Australia’s battle to control the rabbit, carp, wild dog, fox and other damaging pest control programs.
Nationals Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said by investing $20 million to help control pests through the Invasive Animals Solution, The Nationals were helping farmers to protect their stock from predators like wild dogs through fences, baits and a national coordination centre.
“Farmers are not alone in their ongoing fight with pests and The Nationals are implementing policies that will make a difference for local primary producers,” Mr Chester said.