THE region’s farmers and industry bodies have welcomed the launch of the National Wild Dog Action Plan.
Launched by federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce in Armidale this month, it is the first ever national effort to co-ordinate wild dog management.
It comes after a spate of dog attacks on livestock in the region in recent months and controversy surrounding the North-West Local Land Services decision to “redeploy” its most qualified dog trapper.
Importantly, the new plan has been endorsed by all state agriculture or environment ministers, as well as the federal government which contributed $280,000 to help the initial implementation, NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said.
The design and implementation of the plan, initially driven by WoolProducers Australia, was undertaken through a collaboration of representatives from the wool, sheepmeat, cattle and goat industries.
Sheepmeat Council of Australia CEO Kat Ferme said greater collaboration and commitment was needed across Australia by government and industry to manage this issue – and the plan was a step in the right direction.
“It is the single issue causing the greatest effect on producers, economically and emotionally, and we’re seeing wild dogs becoming a bigger issue in all states,” she said.
“The sheepmeat industry is experiencing a period of record exports. We continue to see growing demand for our product, particularly in Asia. However, if we are going to take advantage of these opportunities we need to increase production and guarantee supply.”
The estimated cost of wild dog attacks per year nationally is estimated between $48 million and $60 million.
In 2012, the NSW government estimated farmer and state agency annual costs of wild dog management cost $50 million
The percentage of farmers who reported trauma after wild dog attacks on their livestock is 70 per cent.
NSW Farmers’ president Fiona Simson praised the efforts of all involved in bringing the plan together.
Mrs Simson said the association welcomed any opportunity to work alongside WoolProducers and the Wild Dog Action Plan implementation steering committee as they put the plan into place over the coming year.
Mr Joyce said the plan was straightforward and identified the responsibilities and actions of each stakeholder.
“The last question I had from rural stakeholders I met with in south-west Queensland was about wild dogs and the first question put to me at a local community meeting in Nundle recently was also about wild dogs – so I know just how prevalent this issue is across jurisdictions and I’ve heard firsthand from those affected.” he said.