WOOL grower concern about the potential introduction of dingoes into Victoria’s Grampians National Park increased last week with the release of a report to the State Parliament.
The parliament’s legislative council’s Environment & Planning Committee last week tabled a report that recommended a trial reintroduction of dingoes, the phasing out of 1080 baiting and the suspension of kangaroo harvesting.
Victoria Valley wool growers and Merino breeders John, Rhonda and Nicole Crawford believe the ‘Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline in Victoria’ report should be of concern to the whole of Victoria. The Greater Gariwerd Landscape Draft Management Plan also recommends trialling the introduction of dingoes into the park.
Rhonda Crawford said the family has received more than 4000 signatures to its petition opposing dingo release trials.
“We are very concerned that dingoes will be released into the Grampians region/National Park and that they will travel out of the bush into adjoining farm land’s and injure livestock — sheep and calves — but also koalas in the park.
“Also, the Victorian Government has just spent over $32million funding the Grampians Peaks Trail, a unique 160km hiking experience,” she said.
“The tourists that will come to the park camping/walking will have to be careful and there will be safety issues re. the dingoes.
“We feel Parks Victoria will have to erect “Beware the dingoes” signs,” Mrs Crawford said.
“Hamilton and the Grampians area is known as the ‘wool capital of the world’ and it would decimate the livestock and wool industry in this region.”
Mr Crawford he also concerned about the suggestion to phase out the use of 1080 bait to control invasive species and the statewide implications of the dingo recommendations in the ‘Inquiry into Ecosystem Decline in Victoria’ report.
“It’s about all ecosystems in Victoria, not just the Grampians, in all parks,” he said.
The report states: “The (Environment and Planning) Committee would like to see the ecological benefits of the reintroduction of dingoes into Victorian ecosystems comprehensively assessed through a trial.”
Liberal MLC for Western Victoria Bev McArthur with fellow committee members National Melina Bath and Liberal Matthew Bach submitted a minority report opposing the report’s recommendations. Mrs McArthur said Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas would now decide whether the report is “taken up.”
Ms McArthur said she intends to make the prospect of dingoes in the Grampians a State Election issue.
“We are not putting dingoes in the Grampians, there is no evidence they were actually there originally anyway.
“I think a lot of pressure has to be put on the Agriculture Minister about this.”
Ms McArthur said the Crawford family has done a wonderful job in mounting the case against a dingo trial, but she said the Victorian Farmers Federation needed to get vocal also.
“Other states are spending millions to keep dingoes out.”