3 Baron-Hay Court, South Perth, Western Australia
16 June 2003
WILD DOG REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS RELEASED
The State's producers believe greater landholder participation and improved planning of current control efforts are the keys to solving the wild dog problem.
These are among the main findings by a Panel of producers commissioned by the Agriculture Protection Board (APB) to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Western Australias Wild Dog Control Program.
In releasing the Panels report today for a period of open review, APB Chairman Chris Richardson said the Board had agreed to make the report widely available in light of the intense public interest in its findings.
"This is basically an industry view of the root causes of the high dog numbers presently being observed, and the way forward in order to bring them back to more manageable levels", Mr Richardson said.
"The APB has encouraged industry to look at every aspect of the current Control Program, and also to think laterally in order to bring further innovation to the table if possible", he said.
The report identifies landholder complacency, a scaling down in the amount of ground control work carried out, and a gradual over-reliance on aerial baiting, as significant factors contributing to the progressive build-up of wild dog numbers in Western Australia.
Despite hopes and assertions to the contrary, the Panel concluded there is no 'silver bullet' or overnight quick-fix to address the high numbers of wild dogs being observed across a wide section of Western Australias pastoral and agricultural areas.
Rather, producers firmly believe that the medium to longer term management of wild dog numbers will require a move away from the present over-reliance on aerial baiting, and a return to the sustained and widespread deployment of all available control techniques in combination (ground baiting, aerial baiting, trapping and shooting).
The Panel is confident that the overall effectiveness of the current Control Program can be improved significantly.
The report contains a total of 25 recommendations for further improvement and attention. Of particular importance are the development of State and regional control strategies. This includes strengthened community ownership and input from all affected landholders and a more coordinated planning to ensure baits are placed on a strategic landscape rather than individual property basis.
Other recommendations include improved overseeing and evaluation of the Program's effectiveness at the regional level and more direct producer input into policy and priority setting. The Report also recommended the development of a ready-to-lay meat bait that could be purchased 'off the shelf' which landholders could quickly and easily place at ground level whilst going about their other duties. The Report also identified a need for improved information on trends in dog numbers, dog movements and dog impacts.
Mr Richardson said the APB had already commenced implementation of several of the key recommendations, including the move to more coordinated planning of baiting activity at a local level and the desired availability of a factory-produced and ready-to-lay dried meat bait.
"However, before considering other changes recommended, the APB is keen to hear the views of the wider industry," Mr Richardson said.
"Given this is essentially an industry report on an industry matter, I encourage stakeholders not contributing to the reports development to think carefully about its key messages, and to provide additional feedback if they hold differing views", he said.
A copy of the Panels report will be sent to all pastoral lessees, to farmers in proximity to the State Barrier Fence and to affected Local Government Authorities. Copies will also be sent to all those contributing to the reports development. The report is also available online at www.agric.wa.gov.au/agency/pubns/wdcp/ and through the Department of Agricultures Publications Branch on 9368 3333 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions close at 5.00pm, Friday 15 August 2003. More information is available from the Panels executive officer, Tony Richman on 0428 920 801, fax 9622 1902 or email email@example.com.
Chris Richardson APB Chairman 0428 175 591
Michelle Allen Panel Chair 0427 174 227
Tony Richman Panel Executive Officer 0428 920 801
Alison Blake Media Liaison Officer 9368 3641
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