Speaking in Granya in northern Victoria while announcing the Coalition’s comprehensive plan to tackle wild dogs, Mr Ryan said aerial baiting was a crucial control method that had been rejected by the Brumby Government.
“Under John Brumby, wild dogs are taking over Victoria’s high country and cutting a bloody swathe through native animals and livestock,” Mr Ryan said.
“A Coalition Government will carry out an annual aerial baiting program to control packs of marauding wild dogs in Victoria’s high country.
“We will bring an end to the incompetence of the Brumby Government on wild dogs and its refusal to implement aerial baiting.
“The Victorian Coalition is not going to sit on its hands and watch while native wildlife and the livelihoods of landholders are wiped out by these brutal feral animals,” Mr Ryan said.
In addition to introducing an aerial baiting program, the Coalition will:
- reinvigorate wild dog management committees to increase their effectiveness and participation in decision-making on wild dogs;
- maintain the 24 doggers already employed by the state;
- lobby the Gillard Government to create a national threat abatement plan for wild dogs; and
- establish a $4 million fox and wild dog bounty, making all licensed shooters eligible for a $50 bounty for every wild dog killed.
“Farmers are suffering huge losses, with some so devastated by the attacks that they have given up farming altogether,” Mr Walsh said.
“Many landholders say dog attacks are becoming more frequent and vicious but the Brumby Government has refused to implement aerial baiting.
“Labor conducted two aerial baiting trials and it bungled both of them, yet John Brumby’s incompetent Agriculture Minister has since used the inconclusive results of those trials to justify Labor’s rejection of aerial baiting.
“It is immensely frustrating for landholders when aerial baiting is already used successfully in other parts of the country, including New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.”
Mr Walsh said field trials conducted in NSW had shown that wild dogs did more damage to native fauna than aerial baiting.
“Aerial baiting can in fact assist native species such as quolls by reducing predation by wild dogs,” Mr Walsh said.
Mr Ryan said under a Coalition Government, the use of aerial baiting would be part of a comprehensive program to control wild dogs, including doggers, ground baiting, a bounty for shooters and appropriate exclusion fencing.
“The Coalition will push for a national approach on dog control by lobbying the Gillard Government to list wild dogs as a key threat to Victoria’s biodiversity,” Mr Ryan said.
“This will enable the creation of a national threat abatement plan under legislation to coordinate control efforts and require each state to undertake adequate control measures.
“We will also overhaul the structure and functions of the state’s wild dog committees to ensure they represent the concerns of landholders and high country communities and can undertake an active role in the decision-making process.
“Rural communities want to see urgent action taken to stop the wild dog menace and only the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition will deliver it,” Mr Ryan said.