Dogs plan needs dollars
A year in the making, the National Wild Dog Action Plan has been launched, amid cautious optimism from pastoralists.
In February 2013, WoolProducers Australia brought together industry stakeholders to develop a plan to combat the economic and personal devastation caused by wild dogs across rural Australia.
On Monday, the plan was officially launched, after a year of working on a national strategy and the release of a guide on how best to manage wild dogs.
The guide introduces a national approach to a wild dogs' mitigation strategy.
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WA Farmers wool section president Ed Rogister said the plan's implementation will have a "great impact" on WA producers.
Mr Rogister said wild dogs were a problem affecting producers across Australia, including in WA where they resulted in significant stock losses, translating to financial difficulties for many farmers.
"The launch of this plan means there is now a nationally co-ordinated response to this widespread problem and should result in a shared solution," he said.
"We extend our congratulations and thanks to WoolProducers Australia, particularly for their commitment to a collaborative approach which WAFarmers has significantly contributed to."
Mr Rogister also said it was now important for industry to continue to work together to implement the plan.
"It would be ideal to see the whole of industry, including research and development bodies pull together in support of this plan to ensure its success," he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Agriculture Minister Ken Baston said the State Government was pleased with the progress of the dog mitigation program.
"It is coming at an opportune time to capitalise on the upswing in lamb prices, and, for the first time in many years, parts of the rangelands has a brighter outlook," he said.
"If the combination of the dog bounty and the cell fence works the pastoral industry will have a viable model to get back on its feet and begin to rebuild its stock numbers.
"The dogs have effectively killed off the pastoral industry over the past three decades.
"And it has taken a joint effort by the government and industry to find a viable solution to effectively begin the process of getting them under control.
"So the minister is looking forward to seeing the fence completed and the results of this first trial analysed to see just how effective it is."
But Rangelands Biosecurity Association chairman Ashley Dowden has cautiously welcomed the announcement, but warns without adequate financial support from the State Government the plan will not succeed in WA.
Mr Dowden, of Challa Station in Meekatharra, said money to continue with existing dog mitigation programs as well as administrative support is required.
"The bounty trial which has officially collected 109 scalps up to April needs to continue," he said.
"We also need the ongoing support of Royalties for Regions for doggers and money allocated to pay for an executive to run the program in WA."
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