Harriet Shing too busy to act on wild dogs

Wednesday 5 April 2017

 

The Andrews Labor Government's bungled management of Victoria’s Wild Dog Control program has gone from bad to worse, as wild dog numbers and attacks on livestock increase.

“Wild dogs are a significant challenge for North East and far East Gippsland livestock farmers, and feeble excuses from Labor’s local MP Harriet Shing that she is too busy to help with this problem is a huge insult to those who deal daily with the harsh reality of wild dog attacks,” Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said.

“When Ms Shing was appointed Committee Chair, she admitted ‘the stress, stock loss and costs that wild dogs cause for producers in Gippsland, North East and North West Victoria is enormous’, but now she is washing her hands of the problem.  

“Labor should have continued the community-developed wild dog Action Plan, which was little more than one year into a five year lifetime.

“While Ms Shing’s abandonment of farmers is appalling, it does give the Minister opportunity to listen to landholders and appoint an independent chair who won’t suddenly on a whim decide they are too busy to deal with this serious problem.”

In a further slap in the face to producers, Labor has failed to appoint the community representative of the Advisory Committee even though applications closed months ago.

“Applicants who contacted the Department after months of silence have reportedly been told the Department forgot to organise interviews for shortlisted applicants,” Mr Walsh said.

“Daniel Andrews and his MPs appear to have absolutely zero understanding about wild dogs and the control program.”

Background

Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing has resigned as Chair of the Andrews Government’s Wild Dog Management Advisory Committee – before the Committee members have even been appointed.

Since 2015 the Andrews Labor Government has failed High Country graziers by:

·           Failing to conduct an autumn run of aerial baiting in 2015

·           Axing the Wild Dog Bounty, despite advice from landowners and hunters that the bounty was effective

·           Sacking the previous community advisory committee for no reason

·           Leaving the control program languishing while dragging out a review for more than 12 months

Earlier this year at the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria Annual Get Together in Buchan, Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh announced the Liberal Nationals’ Wild Dog Control policies would include:

·           Appointing an independent chair to the Wild Dog Control Advisory Committee, with relevant wild dog control experience

·           Restoring majority landowner representation to the Committee

·           Cutting red tape that hampers wild dog controllers and affected landowners from control efforts

·           A competitive tender process for spring and autumn aerial baiting to ensure maximum value and effectiveness for investment

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