Wild dogs costing $180m

A NATIONAL approach is needed to combat the growing wild dog problem which is costing woolgrowers about $180 million a year.

The WoolProducers Australia president, Geoff Power, yesterday said his organisation — the industry’s peak production body — had pleaded with the federal government to discuss the issue with the states.

He wanted the issue on the agenda at Council of Australian Governments’ meetings.

He said a uniform policy across Australia was the best hope of tackling the problem.

“We want this issue raised at COAG to ensure a greater and nationally strategic eradication program is developed,” he said.

The cost of lost production in Victoria is estimated at $20 million a year.

The Queensland figure is three times that at $60 million and NSW double at $40 million.

“The industry in Queensland has been absolutely devastated,” Mr Power said.

“Queensland once had about 20 million sheep, but that has dropped to three million.

Mr Power said farmers in the western part of Queensland had moved into cattle production after being “beaten” by the dogs.

There has been a similar trend in Victoria with the number of sheep in areas such as the Tallangatta Valley, Granya, Burrowye and around Corryong massively reduced.

“Wild dogs pose the biggest threat to the growth and sustainability of the national flock and wool production,” Mr

Power said.

“Every state and territory has a wild dog problem, especially throughout the NSW great dividing range regions, Victoria’s high country, South Australia’s northern Flinders Ranges and several areas of Queensland and Western Australia.

“Farmers forced to switch to cattle because of attacks then encounter calf predation.

“Pest eradication remains a high priority for WoolProducers Australia.”

Mr Power said his organisation had asked the Federal Government to confirm whether $95.9 million allocated to the Caring For Our Country program could be used for a greater effort to eradicate wild dogs.

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