Member for Benambra Bill Tilley MLA says disbanding the Wild Dog Management Advisory Committee is another way to mute country Victoria.
The committee, that included two farmers from the North East and another two from Gippsland, will be wound up at the end of the month.
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes says she will instead be seeking ‘bespoke information’ on wild dog control.
Mr Tilley fears that means Greens-leaning sectional interests within the Labor Government will now dominate the agenda – ending aerial baiting and any grassroots representation.
“There’s nothing ‘bespoke’ about the cruelty livestock and native animals suffer at the teeth of wild dogs,” Mr Tilley said.
“The trauma is real for farmers who, despite myths pedalled by some animal activists, care and nurture their livestock.
“Jaclyn Symes’ decision to disband this Committee means there’s no dedicated voice for wild dog control in Victoria, despite the ongoing threat these invasive pests have on livestock and native animals.
“This is the same government that is happy to embark on expensive shooting programs to get rid of brumbies who eat nothing but grass.
“Labor’s more interested in protecting itself against losing city votes to the Greens than it is the welfare of livestock and our landholders.”
Mr Tilley said aerial baiting had proven effective despite its limited rollout.
“Ideally the original 13 zones for aerial baiting would be allowed instead of the six now on the table and even they appear under threat,” he said.
“The two academics appointed to the now disbanded committee, openly campaigned against aerial baiting – I hope they don’t become the providers of this ‘bespoke information’.
“Farmers are telling me that the bushfires have pushed wild dogs back into areas where they had been controlled in recent years.
“It is that information that should be fed through to the authorities – from real people, living on the land, caring for the land and understanding the land.”
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