WA steps up fight against wild dogs

Staff reportersMidwest Times
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The State Government will spend $19.94 million in a bid to combat predatory wild dogs and other agricultural pests in regional areas.

Stock losses from wild dogs in WA are estimated to cost livestock industries up to $25 million a year.

Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Lewis said the funding would implement key recommendations of the WA Wild Dog Action Plan 2016-21, released on Monday.

Mr Lewis said the comprehensive industry-led plan aimed at reducing the economic and social impact of wild dogs. “Wild dog predation on livestock is taking a heavy economic and emotional toll on livestock producers in affected pastoral and agricultural areas,” he said.

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“The action plan recognises the importance of bringing together industry, government and the community to co-ordinate efforts to control wild dogs, and to protect and revitalise our pastoral, agricultural and regional tourism industries.

“A key step is the formation of the WA Wild Dog Alliance to provide industry-based leadership to implement the plan.

“This includes boosting support for existing biosecurity groups which have formed to control wild dogs and other pests. There is also ongoing funding for professional doggers.”

The plan also includes $1.5 million for competitive grants for cell or cluster fencing.

WAFarmers Livestock Council president John Wallace said approval of the plan and additional funding for fencing was the culmination of extensive work.

“The State currently spends approximately $8.8 million per year on wild dog management, with the current cost of maintaining the 1170km State Barrier Fence sitting at approximately $200,000 per annum,” he said.

“By complementing these maintenance activities with the injection of funds from the State Government, we can be confident that we can reduce the impact of wild dogs on agricultural production and biodiversity.”

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman welcomed the plan, which identified further upgrades and extensions to the State Barrier Fence in the southern agricultural area, as central to effective control.

“The fence has undergone significant improvements in recent years to become a more effective barrier to wild dogs, including the closure of the 170km Yilgarn Gap with the benefit of Royalties for Regions funding,” he said.

“I’m pleased to see Royalties for Regions funding going towards addressing an issue that has been such a long-term problem for the agricultural sector.”

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