WILD dog management has been given a boost with a $640,000 Federal Government grant allocation to Australian Wool Innovation.
The further funding is part of a $31.6m allocation to AWI, the South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regions, Australian Pork Limited and Invasive Animals Limited (trading as Centre for Invasive Species Solutions) aimed at reducing the impacts of feral pigs, deer, cats, foxes and wild dogs.
AWI general manager, research, Bridget Peachey, said AWI has been allocated $650,000 (ex. GST) to fund support roles as part of the implementation of the National Wild Dog Action Plan (NWDAP).
“These support roles are those of the action plan implementation manager and the communications coordinator, and report to the National Wild Dog Management coordinator.
“The funding also includes operational funds to deliver activities under the National Wild Dog Action Plan to reduce the impact of wild dogs on Australia’s agricultural production and the environment,” she said..
Ms Peachey said the objectives of this grant are to support the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator through:
- The continued delivery of the National Wild Dog Action Plan, to facilitate cross-tenure management; raise community awareness and capacity to apply humane, best practice management; and increase the adoption of best practice methods and systems; and
- Strengthening stakeholder involvement in wild dog management and delivery of the National Wild Dog Action Plan, including through industry and other stakeholder co-investment in the National program and to fund priority plan actions together with effective and ongoing co-investment.
The grant is being provided as part of the Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds Program.
Ms Peachey said the term of the grant is two years and provides $450,000 in FY23/24 and a further $200,00 in FY24/25.
She said investments in operational activities (circa. $250,000 ex. GST) are developed in conjunction with the National Wild Dog Action Plan Implementation Committee, and are approved on a case-by-case basis with the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). An example of this is the highly successful NWDAP Wild Dog Management Symposium, held 14-16 March 2023 in Armidale NSW.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said the estimated annual cost to Australian agriculture of established pest animals like foxes is about $600 million.
“The Australian Government supports the national coordination of priority established pest animal initiatives through key policy frameworks, such as the Australian Pest Animal Strategy.
“Increased adoption of best practice pest animal management, as well as improved coordination and information sharing, maximises outcomes of pest control efforts and drives down negative impacts on agricultural productivity and the environment,” he said.
He said national management coordinators are bringing together stakeholders to increase adoption of best practice methods, improve control methods, address knowledge gaps, and consider First Nations communities and their expertise to maximise outcomes.
“Farmers, natural resource managers and communities will benefit through training opportunities and resource sharing, increasing adoption of humane best practice control methods, such as baiting and trapping,” Mr Watt said.
National Action Plans have already been agreed for feral pigs and wild dogs. The National Biosecurity Committee will shortly consider the National Feral Deer Action Plan, following consultation earlier this year.
Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek said feral foxes, cats, deer and pigs kill threatened species and damage critical habitat.
“Feral cats and foxes kill more than 2.6 billion animals like threatened birds and lizards every year, that’s over 7.1 million every night.
“And they’ve contributed to the extinction of at least 34 native mammal species and threaten a further 150 species, like the bilby,” she said.