Bill Sykes says Labor needs a dose of reality
Labor condemns the aerial baiting of wild dogs in the North East
The Victorian Coalition Government has achieved more in wild dog control in three years than the previous Labor government achieved in over a decade.
MEMBER for Benalla and Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries Bill Sykes has hit out at the Labor Party after it condemned the aerial baiting of wild dogs.
Mr Sykes said that the Labor Party and agriculture spokeswoman Jacinta Allan have “once again shown how out of touch they are with country people and reality”.
“The Coburg West branch has condemned aerial baiting, which is required to prevent wild dogs slaughtering more livestock and native wildlife,” Mr Sykes said.
“While wild dogs are maiming and killing livestock and native wildlife, Labor Party members are aiming to stop attempts to control wild dogs.
“Labor and its innercity members obviously have no idea about the real and devastating impacts wild dogs have on livestock producers, both financially and emotionally.”
According to Mr Sykes, Ms Allan has exposed her ignorance on the topic after she claimed that Labor had always supported aerial baiting.
“The previous Labor Federal Government rejected Victoria’s original aerial baiting application on ridiculous grounds, treating Victoria differently to New South Wales where aerial baiting has been permitted,” he said.
“Ms Allan must take country voters for fools, or think they have very short memories.
“Labor at both state and federal level also seem to ignore the impact predatory wild dogs have on quolls and other native species.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to an integrated approach to wild dog control through its wild dog action plan, with aerial baiting complementing other control measures like trapping, ground baiting, shooting and exclusion fencing.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has achieved more in wild dog control in three years than the previous Labor government achieved over a decade.
“Labor’s members want wild dog baiting stopped, and regional people can bet their last dollar that’s what the Labor Party will do if elected,” Mr Sykes said.
Speaking at a wild dog management forum at Flowerdale Estate, Strath Creek, Mr Sykes said that wild dogs are costing Victoria’s livestock industry about $13 million to $18 million per year.
In May this year the State Government began aerial baiting on public land in East Gippsland and North East Victoria to complement its existing wild dog program, with an interstate bait supply pilot introduced to improve landholder access to 1080 baits.
He said that all land managers have a responsibility for wild dog control.
“Our action plan encourages everyone to work together using all available tools including baiting, trapping, shooting, exclusion fencing and good animal husbandry.
“We have also sought local knowledge in the development of new work plans for each of the 15 wild dog management zones which specify operational targets, including program baiting and trapping capacity and contribution from community wild dog control groups,” Mr Sykes said.
East Gippland’s current Southern Ark fox baiting program will be altered to include more wild dog baiting over longer periods throughout the year.
This will increase the wild dog baits laid in high wild dog activity areas and reduce the duplication of effort by the two programs.
Nominated Department of Environment and Primary Industries field service officers in high wild dog activity areas are also being trained to lay baits as part of the State Government’s most recent initiatives.
WILD DOG FORUM: Member for Benalla and Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries Bill Sykes with Victorian Farmers Federation wild dog control advisory committee member Michael McCormack.