Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, , Barnaby Joyce, has welcomed the launch of a unique wild dog controller program in the NSW Upper Hunter region that will allow landholders to access professional support to control problem wild dogs.
The Professional Wild Dog Controller Program, launched at the historic Gundibri Station in Merriwa today, will give farmers in the Upper Hunter access to a pool of professional controllers to target known problem wild dogs and wild dog hotspots.
Wild dogs are estimated to cost our agriculture sector up to $89 million each year in direct costs through livestock losses, control measures and disease transmission,” Minister Joyce said.
“The impacts of wild dogs are felt by industry, farmers, their families and native species and particularly hard by people who are affected by drought.”
The program was created on the back of the successful pilot trapper project run in the district in 2016 that was partially funded by the Australian Government’s multi-billion dollar Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
The White Paper provided $10,500 through the $3 million 2015-16 Pest and Weed Drought Funding Program to allow further rollout of the pilot trapper project in the Upper Hunter.
The pilot project has now evolved into the $1 million Professional Wild Dog Controller Program that will initially run until 2021.
It has been made possible thanks to a generous grant from Australian Wool Innovation.
Other program partners include the Hunter Valley Combined Wild Dog Association, Hunter Local Land Services, Glencore, Yancoal Australia, Bengalla Mining Co., National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Corporation and Feral Scan.
Working across tenure to deliver best practice, coordinated control will deliver better protection of livestock and native species.
“Farming smarter and growing productivity is essential and a program like this will support farmers into the future so they can see the benefits at the farm gate,” Mr Joyce said.
“It was very pleasing to be part of the launch and to see the initial investment by the Australian Government has grown into a long-term program that will deliver results for the primary producers of this area.”