SA sheep producers seeking $300,000 for wild dog trappers

Sheep Central November 21, 2016
LivestockSA president Geoff Power

Livestock SA president Geoff Power

WILD dogs will be a common sight in the Adelaide Hills if the South Australian Government did not invest more in wild dog control, Livestock SA said last week.

Other states are spending millions of dollars on wild dog control, but Livestock SA president Geoff Power farmers have been unable to get just $300,000 in direct funding from the SA Government to fund wild dog trappers.

Calls to the current Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter for South Australian State Government-funding of wild dog trappers have been unsuccessful, but Mr Power is hoping for some news during a Country Cabinet meeting at Coober Pedy tomorrow.

Livestock SA last week said it was dismayed at the lack of action from the South Australian Government for wild dog control despite its counterparts in Western Australia and Victoria increasing funding to stop their spread across agricultural and peri-urban areas.

This week, the Western Australian Government announced a $20 million funding injection for its wild dog action plan including funding wild dog trappers and dog fence repairs. Meanwhile, Victoria spends more than $11 million a year on baiting, hunting and trapping and will increase its aerial baiting, part of a $6.2 million program.

Mr Power said SA farmers were already investing $600,000 in control and $300,000 is urgently needed to employ expert trappers to track dogs that currently get through other lines of defence.

“We have seen what has happened in other states – wild dogs have decimated the Queensland and Western Australia sheep industries, particularly in the pastoral zone.

“In Queensland, there are only 1.5m sheep left when 25 years ago there was 20m,” he said.

“In WA, there is 13m sheep, compared with 20m previously, but only 200,000 in the pastoral zone.

“It is $300,000 that we are seeking,” Mr Power said.

“It is not a huge sum of money to protect a significant contributor to the state’s economy in the livestock industry.”

He said Livestock SA could not understand why the SA Government did nothing when WA and Victoria are pouring millions into wild dog control.

“The same threat that exists in WA and Victoria exists here in SA. Victoria recognises that damage caused by wild dogs cost up to $18 million per year and South Australia’s losses would be at least that, and more.

“In fact, if the government does not pay more attention to this problem then wild dogs – which are dingoes that are interbred – will be a common sight in the Adelaide Hills,” he said.

“We know this because we have seen it in Queensland.

“They have a massive peri-urban problem when it comes to wild dogs, they are a threat to small children and pets, not to mention Australian wildlife which cannot defend themselves.”

Mr Power said the SA Government has never funded wild dog trappers — “not since I’ve been around” — although trappers were funded with Federal Government drought money in the Biteback program last year. Most other states either partly or fully fund wild dog trapping as part of integrated management programs.

The SA Government puts $500,000 into funding the SA wild dog fence as legislated, on a dollar-for-dollar basis with industry, Mr Power said.

“Our baiting program is basically funded out of our sheep industry fund and through AWI.

“There might be a government regulator that administers the program, but the actual aerial and ground baiting comes from industry money.”

Mr Power said Livestock SA would make representations to the Minister at Coober Pedy tomorrow and was hoping for “some sort of an announcement”.

The SA Government recently committed $500,000 to a Koala Centre of Excellence in the Adelaide Hills and all this work will be undone when wild dogs move south and attack native animals, he said.

“Wild dogs are now causing havoc inside and outside the dog fence killing sheep, cattle and native wildlife.

“They are on the march further south unless we do something about it.”


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