Fears wild dog ‘epidemic’ threatening to destroy Queensland’s wool industry
A western Queensland mayor says there will not be a sheep and wool sector left in the state unless there is a concerted effort to control wild dogs.
Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh is in Longreach in the state’s central-west today, meeting graziers, local council leaders and the state’s wild dog advisory group.
Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler says the Federal Government recently announced money as part of its drought aid package and he would like to see it go toward exclusion fencing.
“A consultation phase is underway at the moment – whether that be a 1,300 or 1,400 kilometre check fence right around the traditional wool-growing areas or whether the money is put into cluster fencing or other types of fencing,” he said.
“We have to attack these dogs full-on.
“We have an absolute epidemic of wild dogs out here at the moment.”
Councillor Chandler says fencing is the only way to control the worsening problem.
“When you have got a council like our council alone paying out alone on over 2,500 scalps a year, without any numbers being killed by poison or that are being shot and being left in the paddock, it is an epidemic,” he said.
“There is only one real way to start to control the dog problem and that is exclusive fencing.
“We have to attack these dogs full-on or there will be no woollen industry in Queensland.”
Cr Chandler says getting local councils to enforce laws about wild dog control is problematic.
“It is the toughest, toughest question on the table,” he said.
“We as a local government can insist that a grazier controls their class-two pests.
“But … really you don’t have the teeth or the process to go through to take that person to task.
“Really I think the State Government is big brother and I think big brother probably should be the ones who are the enforcement officers.”
Advisory committee member Mike Pratt says they are now consulting about the proposed fence.
“They key point is how vital the sheep industry is to this region and the flow-on effects of a very viable sheep industry to the wider community are substantial,” he said.
“For every sheep that leaves this region, either gets killed by a wild dog or is sold, there is $10 that the local economy misses out on.”
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