October 26, 2012
The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has slammed the Federal Government for failing to support aerial baiting of wild dogs in Victoria, accusing Labor Ministers of neglecting their responsibilities to reduce the impact of the feral species.
Mr Chester said the Environment Minister and the Agriculture Minister had failed to protect native animals and stock in East Gippsland by obstructing efforts by the Victorian Coalition Government to introduce a wild dog aerial baiting trial.
“Twelve months ago in Parliament the Labor Party supported a motion that I presented which called on the Federal Government to develop a national strategy to help control the impact of wild dogs on native species and stock,” Mr Chester said.
“During that debate I highlighted the social, economic and environmental impact that wild dogs were continuing to have on the East Gippsland community and several Labor MPs stood up and supported my motion.
“In my most recent correspondence to the Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig, he confirmed that there was merit in developing a national strategy but his government has rejected the Victorian application for a trial of aerial baiting.
“Instead of doing everything it can to help the Victorian Government to introduce a trial, the Commonwealth has asked for more research even though aerial baiting has been successfully implemented in New South Wales and has been found to benefit native species, including quolls.
“The research has been done and it makes more sense to spend the available funds on control measures like aerial baiting.”
Mr Chester said the Federal Government had a key role to play in supporting East Gippsland landholders and the Victorian Government.
“At the moment we have local farmers and the Victorian Government doing their fair share of the work but the Commonwealth is hindering efforts rather than supporting measures such as shooting, trapping, fencing and the poisoning of wild dogs,” Mr Chester said.
“In my most recent visit to the Omeo district I met with landholders who have been directly impacted by wild dog attacks in recent months and they are concerned about the economic losses and the environmental damage.
“There is a genuine fear in the community that it will take an attack on a human before the Commonwealth recognises its responsibility and works with the State Government to control wild dogs on public land.”