THE National Wild Dog Action Plan Coordination Committee met in Canberra on June 15-16 to review the progress and provide strategic direction for the plan post June 2022.
This industry led committee has strong producer representation and includes members involved in research, extension and government policy.
Most of Australia’s peak livestock industry councils are represented and have a dual role overseeing the Plan as well as the Centre for Invasive Species National Wild Dog Coordination Project.
The daily operations, overseen by Australian Wool Innovation, are focused on supporting National Wild Dog Management Coordinator Greg Mifsud in his role to promote best practice wild dog management.
The Coordination role promotes best practice management, increases awareness of risk assessment, supports community-led activities initiating control programs or community group development in emerging areas without any processes in place.
Mr Mifsud told the committee the role had been successful due to the network and relationships developed across a landscape scale from ground level to regulators.
“A key outcome of this project is that angst, animosity and frustration at a landholder level is taken out of the situation in most cases as people are much more informed and actively involved in the decision making at local, regional and state level,” he said.
“The project itself intersects across a range of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) programs covering national best practice, and collaborative pathways to accelerate adoption.”
As the longest serving national feral animal coordinator, Mr Mifsud has provided support supervision and mentoring for the national feral pig, feral fox and cat, and deer coordinators.
National Feral Pig Action Plan Coordinator Dr Heather Channon and National Feral Cat and Fox Management Coordinator Gillian Basnett will join Mr Mifsud to speak with landholders, organisations and agencies on multi-species predator management at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo, on July 15-17.
“Stakeholders tell me there is a significant role for the Plan to provide the conduit between research, adaptive management and policy direction,” Mr Mifsud said.
“The goals of the Plan are leadership within the community, tools and methods for best practice and increasing awareness and understanding about wild dogs, their impacts and management, and increasing adoption of best practice.
“The Plan does not control wild dogs but is a strategic document providing the basis for and supporting the management on-ground whilst having influence in terms of ongoing funding leading to wild dog management.
“A lot of focus in the last 10-15 years has been in the sheep and wool industry due to the immediate impact of dogs so moving forward there are opportunities to work on the impacts on the cattle industry and agriculture more broadly with demonstrations sites evaluating integrated multiple species management.”
National Wild Dog Action Plan Coordination Committee member Scott Pickering called for support from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) for adoption programs of wild dog best practice management.
“We have best practice extension material, but we need people in the field able to talk and work with growers to deliver on ground programs,” Mr Pickering said.
“This should be achievable through producer demonstration sites and be a key target for MLA through their adoption program.
“The National Wild Dog Management Coordinator has been pivotal in achieving on ground management in the rangelands, but further support will be required inside the agricultural areas where wild dogs are present and programs aren’t well established.”
Mr Pickering said the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator had generated significant benefits to livestock producers around the country, but wild dogs were becoming prevalent in new and emerging areas.
“That ongoing support through the National Wild Dog Action Plan of the Coordinator is still required.”
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