Next step for dog baiting

THE Victorian government’s recent application to aerial bait for wild dogs has overcome the first hurdle.

A revised application was sent last month to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and approval has been given for a consultation process to proceed.

The Victorian Agriculture and Food Minister, Peter Walsh, made public the latest development at the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association annual gathering held at Omeo at the weekend.

“Late on Friday, the Commonwealth responded that the revised application was sufficient for Victoria to proceed to a 20-day public consultation period required under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act,” Mr Walsh said.

“This is a positive step forward for Victoria’s application, beyond where we reached last time.”

Mr Walsh said the consultation process will be held as quickly as possible with the government ready to deploy the aerial baiting of wild dogs in autumn at six sites in the North East and East Gippsland.

“The government delivered on the commitment made to farmers and land managers to submit a revised application last month,” Mr Walsh said.

Mr Walsh said the revised application included new information that clearly demonstrates aerial baiting will not adversely impact spotted tail quoll populations.

“This extra information includes the equivalent of 5000 days of monitoring of animal movements taken by 113 remote cameras that were operating between December 2012 and March 2013,” he said.

“Quolls were not detected in the areas monitored. The previous Labor Federal Government rejected Victoria’s original application on ridiculous grounds, treating this state differently to NSW where aerial baiting has been permitted.”

Mr Walsh said the government has always believed aerial baiting would provide valuable support to on-ground control measures like shooting, trapping and baiting to control the destructive and costly pests.

“In December, I launched the Victorian Wild Dog Action Plan which, for the first time, will see communities involved in the setting of operational targets and local area work plans for public and private land in each of the 15 wild dog management zones,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Victorian Coalition government has achieved more advances in wild dog control in three years than the previous Labor government did over a decade.”

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