WOOL brokers have cited the demise of the Queensland wool industry in a submission of support for growers fighting a draft proposal to reintroduce dingoes in parts of south-west Victoria.
The Greater Gariwerd Landscape Draft Management Plan includes a proposal to investigate the re-introduction of dingoes or dingo-hybrids in the Grampians National Park or Gariwerd region.
The draft plan has been prepared by Parks Victoria, Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation, and the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation. Community feedback to the plan ended on 24 January.
Under the goal of reducing predation by foxes and cats, the plan proposes the establishment of innovative research partnerships between farmers and academic institutions to investigate and trial native predator re-introduction (quoll and Dingo) to restore missing ecological processes, control pest species (rabbits, fox, feral cat) and naturally manage overabundant macropods (kangaroo and wallaby).
Wool brokers oppose dingo re-introduction
National Council of Wool Selling Brokers executive director Chris Wilcox said council members support the aims and objectives of the draft plan, but oppose the re-introduction of dingo into the Greater Gariwerd Landscape.
“Doing so will have a significant and potentially devastating cost and impact on the wool and sheep producers in the region.
“It will not be possible for Parks Victoria to confine released dingo within the parks area,” he said.
“This will result in dingo attacks on sheep and lambs on properties adjoining the Gariwerd Landscape and parks.”
Mr Wilcox said dingo and wild dog attacks have happened with devastating effect in the sheep and wool producing regions in Queensland.
“Twenty years ago Queensland was the third largest wool producing state in Australia.
“Due to the devastating impact of dingo and wild dog attacks on sheep and lambs, Queensland’s production is now a fraction of its historical levels and it is the smallest wool producing state in Australia,” he said.
Mr Wilcox said wool and sheep producers in Queensland have spent millions of dollars in the past five years building dingo/wild dog proof fences to be able to rebuild sheep flocks.
“The Queensland Government has supported this spending with millions of dollars of grant support to the producers.”
Gariwerd area produces 30pc of Victoria’s wool
Mr Wilcox said dingo and wild dog attacks are also a serious problem through eastern Victoria, parts of New South Wales and South Australia.
“The region around the Greater Gariwerd Landscape is a very large wool-producing region.
“It produces around 30 percent of Victoria’s wool each year (23.1 million kilograms in 2019/20).” He said.
“The re-introduction of dingo into the Greater Gariwerd Landscape would, over time, cause significant economic loss to producers, to the Victorian and Australian sheep and wool industry and to the Victorian economy.
“It would also cause untold animal welfare damage with the maiming and painful death of sheep and lambs,” he said.
“We urge Parks Victoria to rethink its proposal to reintroduce dingo into the Greater Gariwerd Landscape.”
The draft management plan document recognises that “the re-establishment of dingo or dingo-hybrid populations in the Greater Gariwerd Landscape has the potential to cause community concerns due to possible conflicts with grazing.” Programs for the re-introduction of dingoes have also been raised by other traditional owner groups in other parts of Victoria and are being investigated, the plan says.
The dingo is an important cultural and environmental species
A spokesperson from Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation Eastern Maar said the body is supportive of investigating the reintroduction of dingos as an important cultural and environmental species as part of future management of the Gariwerd/Grampians National Park.
“It is envisaged that such an investigation would be inclusive of all stakeholders.
“At this time, Eastern Maar is supportive of the conversation being had, and hearing the arguments both for and against the proposal.”
The spokesperson said Gariwerd is a significant bio-cultural landscape that encompasses both tangible and intangible values for traditional owners.
“Eastern Maar encourages conversation about the landscape and how best to manage it – now and into the future.”
The spokesperson said the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Draft Management Plan is yet to be finalised.
“The plan has been subjected to an extensive and extended community consultation process.
“At this time, no decision has been made relative to the re-introduction of dingoes,” the spokesperson said.
“Any decision would be based upon further engagement, comprehensive research and broad community consensus.”
Amendments will be made to the draft plan in response to stakeholder engagement and the final landscape management plan will go to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change this year.
Click here to read The Greater Gariwerd Landscape Draft Management Plan.