More funding is needed to control wild dogs in South Australia, with an increase in dog numbers posing a threat to the State’s pastoral industry.
The situation has become desperate, and we need more money to protect our sheep industry in South Australia.
Wild dogs, or dingoes, are a declared pest south of the Dog Fence. Good rain and an increase in wildlife has meant the dog population has risen, with many graziers and pastoralists struggling to control the situation.
Dogs have been sighted south of the Dog Fence, with one destroyed as far down as Port Neill.
Funding for the State’s only dog trapper ceased earlier this year, meaning the industry has become more reliant on producers’ implementing their own expensive baiting or trapping programs.
This is in stark contrast to Victoria, which has 23 working dog trappers, funded by the State Government.
There is a call to reinstate the funding for that dedicated trapper. Trapping dogs is a dying art, an antiquated skill, and can only be done by experienced workers.
The Dog Fence, which traverses SA, New South Wales and into Queensland, acts as a physical barrier which separates the sheep country in the south from the cattle in the north.
As dog numbers increase, more and more pressure is put on the fence itself.
I understand that the Dog Fence is in reasonably good condition, and we, in the State Parliament, passed legislation just a few months ago that increased the levy paid by landowners and a transaction fee as livestock goes through the saleyards.
We do not always support levies, but we did support this one, because there was a commitment from the State Government to match dollar for dollar the money spent.
This is going to be a significant increase, almost doubling of money that will go into the maintenance of the Dog Fence itself.
Part of the Dog Fence extends into my electorate in the Far West. It ultimately wanders around the north-west pastoral country, and comes down just north of Ceduna and abuts the Great Australian Bight.
I have constituents who deal with dogs, both inside and outside the fence, and it really is a scourge. I sympathise with them. All they ask for is that this is an issue and that funding be properly allocated so that control can be carried out.
I ask that the wild dog problem be recognised by the Weatherill Labor Government and that funding be properly allocated.
According to Livestock SA, the chances of wild dogs reaching peri-urban areas is higher without a dog trapper, with concern they could cause havoc in residential areas.
The organisation suggests $300,000 would pay for two dog trappers in SA, which would help protect the pastoral industry and reduce the threat to peri-urban areas.