OPPONENTS to the introduction of dingoes in Victoria remain vigilant despite defeating the dog’s proposed reintroduction to the Grampians National Park as part of the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan.
The management plan was released late last year, but its strategy to investigate re-introducing dingoes to the landscape has been replaced with a goal to raise awareness about the cultural significance and ecological role of the dingo.
After a petition of more than 4000 people opposing the dingo’s reintroduction, the final management plan report said significant community concern was raised regarding proposals to investigate the release of the dingo or Wilkurr.
“There are no current plans to release Wilkurr into the wild in the Greater Gariwerd Landscape.
“Should there be broader community support in the future, investigations into reintroducing Wilkurr may be re‐considered,” the report said.
The report went on to state that the traditional owners and Parks Victoria support ongoing community discussion to build greater understanding of the cultural significance and ecological role of Wilkurr in the landscape.
“Such discussions and debate will allow issues raised by the local community and farming sector, particularly the lamb and wool industry, to be considered, including any potential impact to visitors or threatened species such as the Brush‐tailed Rock Wallaby.
“It will be important to continue exploring the complexity of all the issues, concerns and opportunities; for example, the idea of a Wilkurr enclosure or sanctuary was identified through community feedback on the draft management plan,” the report said.
Dingo reintroduction concerns revolved around the safety of livestock, other native species and of the dingoes themselves.
National Wild Dog Action Plan management co-ordinator Greg Mifsud said NWDAP provided a submission to the management plan based on the current scientific evidence around the role of dingoes and their impact in the landscape.
“NWDAP advised against the reintroduction of dingoes due to the risk they pose to threatened species and provided significant support and advice to regional producers in terms of scientific arguments against the proposal during the community consultation stage,” he said.
However, Mr Mifsud said the Victorian Parliament’s Environment & Planning Committee has tabled a report that also recommended a trial reintroduction of dingoes, the phasing out of 1080 baiting and the suspension of kangaroo harvesting.
“No decision has been made on that (report).
“Members of the NWDAP co-ordination committee and other stakeholders need to remain vigilant against similar attempts to introduce dingoes into areas containing threatened species,” he said.
Mr Mifsud said the committee report highlights the possible risk of dingo reintroduction proposals in other areas of Victoria.
“There is still a need to remain vigilant, because there are still a lot of advocates and people out there who want to see dingoes in areas where they do not currently occur, which is a huge threat to a range of species.”
Member for Western Victoria and Assistant Shadow Minister for Scrutiny of Government Bev McArthur said the potential reintroduction of dingoes to the national park posed a threat to the region’s livestock industry and a $33 million investment in the national park’s walking trails and camping options.
“I am delighted with this reprieve for the Grampians, but suspect the idea may be resurrected elsewhere in Victoria,” Ms McArthur said.
A petition of more than 4000 signatures opposing the reintroduction of the dingo to the Grampians National Park was presented to Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, by Victoria Valley wool producers John, Rhonda and Nicole Crawford.
Rhonda Crawford said the GGLMP decision was an early Christmas present, but there was now a need for a wider campaign to oppose the recommendations in the Victorian Environment & Planning Committee.
“We’ve won round one and we’re pleased they (dingoes) won’t be in the Grampians, but now we’ve got round two.
“We will have to start again, we will have to do a new petition and find a sheep breeder in each part of Victoria who will have a go.”