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National Dingo Conservation Organisation Welcomes Labor Win in Victoria, and Calls for Restorative Environmental Justice

The cruel changes made by the Napthine Victorian Government to wildlife laws are another reason many might not have known to be glad that its term just ended. It reestablished wild dog control zones across eastern Victoria which go well beyond the three kilometre limit into public land established under Labor. It reintroduced trap types previously banned by Labor as cruel. It introduced a bounty system whereby recreational hunters (including those using bows and arrows) can kill dingoes (‘wild dogs’) for profit across large parts of eastern Victoria and in the Big Desert National Park in western Victoria. Bounties can be taken in the Big Desert region even though there are no wild dog control zones in that part of the state. It increased the period allowed by Labor between trap visitations to 72 hours. Labor had previously reduced the trap visitation time to limit cruelty. it introduced aerial baiting in Victoria, which had not been permitted by the Brumby Labor government. And that's not all.

(Illustration cropped from a photograph by Clive A Marks in an Age article entitled "In wild dog country, all death is merciless," by Melissa Fyfe athttp://www.theage.com.au/national/in-wild-dog-country-all-death-is-merciless-20081206-6sx0.html

The National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program (NDPRP) today congratulated the Victorian Labor Party and Premier elect, Daniel Andrews, on a convincing win over the Baillieu/Napthine Coalition government.

NDPRP President, Dr Ian Gunn, said:

‘In a single term of office, the Victorian Coalition government proved itself incapable of even basic environmental responsibility and good will in a number of key areas. In having merged the departments of Agriculture and Environment, and heavily cutting staff in biodiversity management, the Coalition gave agriculture the upper hand at the expense of the natural environment and put Agriculture Minister (and former Victorian Farmer Federation President), Peter Walsh, in the driver’s seat on many important environmental issues. At the same time, Environment Minister, Ryan Smith, appeared largely ineffectual.’

In particular, Dr Gunn expressed dismay at the way in which the Coalition had systematically undermined the protective measures previously put in place by the Brumby Labor government to protect dingo populations in Victoria under Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act threatened species legislation.

Dr Gunn stated that:

‘Labor had established a balanced and responsible policy framework to ensure that farm livestock was protected from dingo predation, while also ensuring dingo populations were protected. Central to this arrangement was limiting the trapping and poisoning of dingoes and their hybrids to a 3 kilometer buffer zone at the interface of public and private land. Nevertheless, the Coalition appears to have set about undermining this win-win arrangement at the behest of narrow sectional interests who have historically looked upon the dingo as simply something to be exterminated.’

Dr Gunn called upon Daniel Andrews to reinstate the protective measures for the dingo put in place in 2010 under former Labor Environment Minister, Gavan Jennings.

‘Labor has expressed a commitment to correct the environmentally destructive decisions of the Coalition government, such as the reintroduction of cattle grazing in the Victorian high country; we call upon Daniel Andrews to apply the same restorative justice to the issue of dingo conservation. Labor should reinstate its earlier decisions on this issue. Anything short of this would be a mockery of Victorian threatened species legislation.’

Dr Gunn highlighted the Coalition actions which were used to systematically undermine the dingo threatened species listing.

1. Re-established wild dog control zones across eastern Victoria which go well beyond the three kilometre limit into public land established under Labor.
2. Reintroduced trap types previously banned by Labor as cruel.
3. Introduced a bounty system whereby recreational hunters (including those using bows and arrows) can kill dingoes (‘wild dogs’) for profit across large parts of eastern Victoria and in the Big Desert National Park in western Victoria. Bounties can be taken in the Big Desert region even though there are no wild dog control zones in that part of the state.
4. Increased the period allowed by Labor between trap visitations to 72 hours. Labor had previously reduced the trap visitation time to limit cruelty.
5. Introduced aerial baiting in Victoria, which had not been permitted by the Brumby Labor government

Dr Gunn said it was of great concern that, while the dingo threatened species listing was nominally left in place by the Coalition, in real terms, the dingo in Victoria has less protection today than before the threatened species listing was put in place. The ‘wild dog’ bounty is particularly noteworthy in this regard.

Source: National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program (Inc. A0051763G )
President - Dr Ian Gunn BVSc. FACVSc.
Secretary - Dr Ernest Healy
Date: Monday, December 1, 2014

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Comments

The Coalition government's anti wildlife deregulation condemns native dingoes to be no more than vermin, pests, to be cruelly eradicated and hounded out of Victoria. They are lumped together with the vilest form of "pests", no more than cane toads, to be trapped, hunted, tortured and destroyed with a bounty on their head! There is a confusion between "wild dogs", native dingoes, hybrids, common feral domestic dogs and feral predators! They can now be shot, poisoned, hunted for recreation with bows and arrows, and left trapped without being visited for 72 hours to relieve their pain! Instead of a protected zone, cattle are to be reintroduced to Victoria's high country.
This removal of any protection, in Victoria, for dingoes under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act means that their future in Victoria is likely to be short, and cruel.