THE recent NSW Farmers Wild Dog Cooperative meeting held in Cooma attracted over 150 people.
Member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy, Member for Monaro John Barilaro and Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Steve Whan were joined by representatives from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Local Land Services (LLS), NSW Farmers and concerned land holders from across the South East.
“I was pleased to attend the meeting along with Dr Hendy,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Wild dogs are of huge concern to farmers in the Monaro.
“Wild dog control is and will continue to be a high priority for the NSW Government and I am committed to working with the community to better manage this problem.
“What we need to see is a collective approach when dealing with wild dogs.
“The meeting also served as an opportunity to acknowledge that the stress suffered by local farmers with direct experience of wild dogs is significant."
Michael Green, chairman of the NSW Farmers’ Cooma District, said the meeting was “a historic event for the management of wild dogs in the South East”.
“History was made when a senior staff member from National Parks and Wildlife Service moved a motion to continue supporting and evolving the current wild dog and fox management plans.
“This is significant because it is confirmation one of the biggest land managers in the South East is committed to solving one of the longest running battles that farmers have to face.
“Other motions were passed included the formation of a pest animal controller’s course with significantly more investment and mentoring than the current five-day course available through the Department of Primary Industries.
“The fact that state and federal politicians from different parties attended and gave commitments to support the plans in the South East is also testament to the power a grassroots organisation has to effect change.
“We have come a long way in dealing with the wild dog issue despite what some detractors have said.
“With support from all sides, we will get these management plans working in the South East and one day our region will do what it does best, grow the best food and fibre, without fear of stock losses.”
Ellen Green, Bemboka land holder and chairwoman of the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Wild Dog Committee and AWI representative on the National Wild Dog Advisory Group, attended the meeting.
Ms Green said the conference showed “goodwill” for the issue but questioned whether it would be backed up by government policy and resources.
“Wild dog attacks on livestock are devastating to farmers and more action needs to be taken,” she said.
“I’ve been going to meetings about wild dogs for 35 years now and sometimes I feel that nothing has changed.
“It’s fine to produce an ABARES [Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences] paper on wild dogs, which was discussed at the meeting, however it’s a desktop study.
“What are needed are practical resources to keep the wild dog population down.”
Ms Green said the problem on the southern side of the ranges was not as bad as the western side.
“There has been a lot of work in the South East done with wild dog eradication and this has been achieved thanks to cohesive and cooperative management plans with National Parks and Wildlife.
“Unfortunately this is not the case on the western side, and farmers over there are desperate for help and there was a lot of hostility at the meeting.
“While National Parks understand and do what they can with the resources they have, the same cannot be said of the Forestry Corporation of NSW.
“There is a real lack of interest in tackling wild dogs in state forests from NSW Forestry and no inclination to devote resources to it.”
To read the recent ABARES report, An Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Wild Dogs in Australia, click here.