National Wild Dog Action Plan update released

South Australian wool grower Geoff Power says wild dogs cost the Australian economy upwards of $89 million a year.
South Australian wool grower Geoff Power says wild dogs cost the Australian economy upwards of $89 million a year.

An updated National Wild Dog Action Plan has been released to the public to provide a blueprint for humane, best practice wild dog management across the country.

The NWDAP is an update of the independently reviewed NWDAP 2014-2019, and is endorsed by producers, peak farming bodies, state and federal governments and research and development corporations.

It aims to ensure control measures are evidence-based and the most ethical and humane methods available.

One of the plan's core functions is to promote national coordination of wild dog management, while managing and recognising the knowledge and efforts of local and regional groups for broader benefit.

The updated plan continues to guide industry, communities and government at regional, state and national levels, rather than prescribing detailed on-ground actions to local groups.

National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson said the NWDAP, available here, had so far returned a cost-benefit ratio of between 6.1 to 16.5 for each dollar invested.

"Wild dogs are a major problem for all grazing industries in Australia," Ms Simson said.

"Recognising this in 2013, the wool industry initiated the development of the first NWDAP, with the aim of bringing together all livestock peak bodies, researchers and Commonwealth, state and territory governments to a coordinated approach to wild dog management."

She said the NWDAP had been the spearhead for Australian predator management, providing the inspiration and template for the development of a new Feral Pig Management Plan.

"Its programs also make a significant contribution to biodiversity protection through the control of foxes and feral cats," she said.

An independent review of the NWDAP 2014-2019 last year found it had delivered 94 per cent of its set activities and objectives fully or in part.

It also found the direct and primary benefits of the plan came from more efficient expenditure - both in public and private - on wild dog management, more efficient resource allocation for research, development and extension, and enhanced social licence to undertake wild dog control.

She said the ongoing commitment to best practice wild dog management was vital to the recovery of rural and regional economies, particularly those severely impacted by COVID-19, bushfires and drought.

"The wild dog management groups and plans developed in these regions will enable rural and regional Australians to effectively manage wild dogs and rebuild following these traumatic events," she said.

South Australian wool grower Geoff Power, who also chairs the National Wild Dog Management Coordination Committee and the SA Dog Fence Board, said wild dogs cost the Australian economy upwards of $89 million a year in lost production and control costs.

And Mr Power said there were many hidden impacts too.

"As sheep, wool and goat enterprises decline, so do jobs and business opportunities which places basic services such as health and education in rural areas at risk," he said.

"The NWDAP 2020-30 provides leadership and reassures producers there is ongoing commitment from industry and government to wild dog management.

"We can be confident we have the best strategies and safest tools available for livestock and biodiversity protection."

This story Updated national plan to tackle wild dogs released first appeared on Farm Online.