Dingoes Below the Dog Fence


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (15:33): I rise today to address the very difficult and serious issue of dingoes, which are ravaging stock in pastoral South Australia below the dog fence. Dingoes below the dog fence are declared pests, and the responsibility of all pastoralists in that area is to eradicate them. Today I want to talk specifically about my belief that the South Australian government should set up a system whereby we give a bounty for the culling of dingoes. I make it very, very clear that this is my view as the member for Stuart: the Liberal Party has not yet debated this, and I put this forward on my behalf, representing the people of Stuart.

The difficulty with dingoes is that they are extremely hard to shoot, to poison and to trap, and those are the three main methods by which pastoralists, the NRM boards and other agencies try to remove them from pastoral areas below the dog fence. One of the issues that is particularly difficult is that, when seasons are good—when we have had high rainfall, as we have for the last 18 months or so—dingoes do not take baits nearly as readily as they do during drought times.

The difficulty is that, being a wild animal and with plenty of food source around, they have a strong preference for chasing and killing their own food, rather than just picking up the odd lump of meat that might have some poison in it. They do it for the sport and they do it for the pleasure, on top of their need for survival. In drought times, they eat whatever they can get; when times are good, they go for the fun as well.

I believe that we ought to have a system whereby people who shoot a dingo can claim a bounty from the government. I propose very seriously that the only people who could collect this bounty would be pastoralists with pastoral leases below the dog fence, and, very importantly, pastoralists who are already actively participating in other government programs for the culling of dingoes.

A pastoralist who is not participating in any of the other programs typically offered by the South Australian Arid Lands NRM Board—if you are not already doing those sorts of things, you cannot claim the bounty. So, this stops people from bringing dingoes from other parts of the state, it stops people from going on their own personal shooting trips, and it also stops people from claiming if they are not doing the other things already, which is terribly important as well. There are some very good programs already being offered by the NRM boards, but of course they are not able to do everything that we need them to do.

The bounty, in my opinion, should be in the order of approximately $200. When the bounty is claimed, it would be very easy for the government agency to tell if it is a genuine dingo from that area. Pastoralists would not be allowing other people to go and shoot the dingoes from other areas and bring them, for example, from north to south of the dog fence, because the pastoralists take this issue extremely seriously.

This would help with a very proactive system, where the people who know the land, know the country and have the very important personal self-interest—self-interest from their own business but also, very importantly, self-interest for their own stock and their own families, because a lot of these other issues are extremely time consuming. A lot of the ways that they go about this are extremely time consuming, but if there is a reward, a bit of incentive, they would certainly take it up and get onto this sort of program.

As members of this house might know, I was able to take a photo a few months ago (1 March) of a dingo 300 kilometres south of the dog fence. That is an alarming distance. This is not just an issue for pastoralists in the remote area; this is in the southern end of the pastoral district and, if this problem continues unchecked, we will have these dingoes ravaging sheep in our freehold farming areas. The issue must be addressed.

The NRM board is doing the very best it can. It does not have sufficient funds. The government has not put a lot of money into these programs over the years. The sheep industry, actually, has been the major contributor into these programs. I think that setting up a bounty system would make this a far more efficient dingo eradication program.


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