Wild Dog & Pest Control

Silence on research and advice behind Victorian dingo decisions

Terry Sim, March 18, 2024

Tallangatta farmer Peter Star

REMOVAL of the unprotection order on wild dogs in eastern Victoria will be be mayhem for sheep producers, according to Victorian Farmers Federation Livestock Group vice-president and Tallangatta farmer Peter Star.

Victoria’s Wildlife Act (1975) Order In Council  ‘unprotects’ the dingo on private land, and on public land within 3km of the private land boundaries to public lands, enabling baiting and trapping.

However, the Victorian Government last week said effective from 14 March, the dingo unprotection order will conclude in north-west Victoria and that the decision “follows new research, strong advice and the effectiveness of non-lethal dingo control methods to protect livestock.”

However, Mr Star said the VFF is yet to see the ‘new research’, although he believe it is based on an unreleased research paper by the Arthur Rylah Institute, possibly including a recent camera survey of dingo numbers.

“We need to access that (new research) – we’re not hearing a hell of a lot.”

He believes a camera survey has shown the number of wild dogs in north-west Victoria is between 40 sand 150.

“I’m not privy to that paper, which is a problem.”

Mr Star said he was also unaware of where the ‘strong advice’ came from or what it said.

“The Victorian Government can take the strong advice, but they basically then have to follow the example that has been set in around Barcaldine and Longreach in the RAPAD exclusion fencing program that cost about $8500 per kilometre.”

Mr Star said the $550,000 investment the government if offering for farmers to adopt alternate non-lethal control methods via a pilot of measures, such as exclusion fencing and guardian animals, is “a drop in the bucket” and millions of dollars will probably be needed.

“If they want to get fair dinkum about it and protect the livelihood of sheep producers in that area, they probably need to ad a couple of more zeros to it (the $550,000).”

The Victorian Government also said last week that 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.

Mr Star said there also unanswered questions about what wild dogs will be regarded in regard to ACW permits when they cross from public to private lands.

“When those dogs cross the boundary are they going to go from being dingoes to wild dogs, or if they cross the boundary are they going to be dingoes and therefore they are a protected species?

“Will the landholders need an authority to kill them?” he said.

“Given that they are supposed to be a species under threat, I think we almost know what the answer to that question will be.”

Mr Star said he was aware of an eight-member State Government panel that doesn’t have a VFF representative, that will review the “unprotection of the dingo.”

“I would love to be a fly on the wall, but that’s part of the hypocrisy of all of this; they’ve got this meeting with these ecologists or wild dog people, yet they go ahead an pre-empt it by announcing this.”

The government has said a dingo ‘unprotection’ order will remain in place in eastern Victoria until 1 October 2024, and Mr Star said he hoped commonsense would prevail and the 3 kilometre buffer would remain.

“I will be absolutely bloody mayhem if they pull the wild dog controllers and the control measure out of the bush around here.

“Why didn’t the announcement of last week until the first of October?”

Mr Star said if the unprotection order is removed in eastern Victoria, wiold dogs will come out onto open farmlan.

“You talk to the wild dog controllers in this part of the world — they are hard enough to catch them in the bush, it becomes ten times harder to try to track them down in open country.”

Lack of consultation in the north-west

Mr Star said before the north-west unprotection order was removed there was a lack of consultation by the Victorian Government “with landholders, with the VFF and with anybody with an opinion opposing the people that love dingoes.” He believes the lack of consultation was deliberate.

Mr Star said it was unfair to remove the unprotection order without consulting farmers.

“You’ve almost got to think it is politically motivated; who are they kowtowing to?”

Sheep Central today asked the Victorian Government whether it would release the ‘new research,’ detail the ‘strong advice’ and its source, and share its understanding of ‘the effectiveness of non-lethal dingo control methods to protect livestock.’

The government was also asked who is on the panel that will discuss the unprotection order decisions.


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