Funding kick-starts wild dog plan action

29 Aug, 2015 02:00 AM
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THE WA Wild Dog Action Plan steering committee, formed earlier this year, have been working on a comprehensive plan to co-ordinate and prioritise activities for wild dog control.

And Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston this week welcomed $1.13 million from the federal Government to support strategic wild dog control in WA and nationally and said industry was working towards a comprehensive plan to better respond to wild dogs in the State.

Mr Baston said since the steering committee held its first meeting in July it has been in consultation on how to tackle the issue and how to best spend the funds.

"Industry will be heavily involved in the action plan, with the steering committee chaired by pastoralist Justin Steadman," he said.

"The action plan, which is expected to be completed in November, will determine where the funds are spent."

Members of the committee include pastoralist and Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) vice president Ellen Rowe, WAFarmers wool council member Scott Pickering, Mt Magnet Shire president and pastoralist Ashley Dowden, Sheep Industry Leadership Council member Cameron Tubby, Northampton Landholder interest Michelle Allen, the Department of Agriculture and Food's Viv Read, and Luke Morgan from the office of the Minister of Agriculture and Food and Michael Brittan from the Office of the Minister for Regional Development.

Talks are underway with a range of stakeholders including landholders, industry, government and community representatives, until the committee next meets in early October.

"The wild dog issue is attracting considerable industry and government funding," Mr Baston said.

"I stress the need for effort and funding application to areas that will have the maximum impact.

"This action plan will give us some clear direction as to how best to spend and co-ordinate the funds available for what is a difficult and large problem.

"I expect all wild dog control methods to be considered as part of the development of the wild dog action plan.

"That action plan will identify the priorities in this area."

Wild Dog Action Group chairman and Gascoyne pastoralist Mr Steadman said the initial meeting had established a good understanding of the issues in wild dog management and had mapped the broad range of stakeholders affected.

"It was important for us to first identify all the different public and private parties that we need to consult with to help build a practical plan of action for future wild dog management," Mr Steadman said.

"We will be working through a consultation process with the range of stakeholders identified across landholders, industry, government and the community in coming months to ensure we get the input needed to prioritise future investment of time and effort in wild dog control."

Mr Baston commended those involved in the group on their commitment towards finding a more strategic approach to combating wild dogs.

"Wild dogs have a devastating impact on livestock and farm enterprises in pastoral areas and adjoining parts of the agricultural region," Mr Baston said.

Mr Baston said a $100,000 component of the funds would be allocated as WA's contribution towards implementation of the National Wild Dog Action Plan.

Development of the plan is being supported through the Boosting Biosecurity Defences project, funded by Royalties for Regions and led by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

Mr Steadman invited all interested parties to become involved in the Wild Dog Action Plan consultation process over coming months by contributing their expertise and ideas for future priorities for wild dog management programs.

To make a submission or to become involved in the consultation process email agknowledge@echidna.id.au.

The Wild Dog Action Plan is expected to be completed by November.

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