Uncertainty still surrounds the future of dogmen in the North East.
The region has been several dogmen short for months.
And no time frame has been set to bring the contingent up to full strength.
The problem apparently stems from a combination of financial constraints and a continuing review of Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries.
Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh gave an assurance two months ago that the full number of dogmen would be returned in the long term.
The department was three dogmen short at that time and another has since retired.
Mr Walsh has since been asked to give some indication as to when the replacements will be announced but has sidestepped the issue.
“DPI is continuing to work on appropriate resources and programs to tackle wild dog control in the North East,” he said.
Mr Walsh said the department hoped to have new arrangements in place this year as the refocusing of DPI was completed.
He made his commitment about the dogmen before attending the Victorian Wild Dog Forum on October 31.
At the time, Mr Walsh said it was a matter of DPI putting people in the right place to do the job.
“It is a management issue rather than a ministerial issue,” he said.
The forum was arranged by the state’s wild dog management committee and involved speakers from interstate.
The speakers included Peter Fleming from DPI in NSW, the national wild dog facilitator Greg Mifsud, and Jane Littlejohn, the head of research with Australian Wool Innovation.
Mr Mifsud advocated an integrated pest management program with trapping and baiting.
But during his presentation, the lack of dogmen was raised by a couple of people.
Mr Mifsud was told that two dogmen were trying to cover a huge area to stem the number of dogs.
“Stock losses are increasing here and we do not have enough dogmen to deal with the problem,” Tallangatta Valley farmer and Towong mayor Mary Fraser said.