July 27, 2015
Sustainable agriculture is a central issue in my electorate of Durack. I visited Challa Station in Mount Magnet, not so long ago, to experience firsthand the wild dog problem and its threat to pastoral enterprises. During my visits to Challa I participated in the preparation of dog baits with 40 members of the pastoral community. I was very impressed with their tenacity and community spirit but feel that baiting alone will not contain the dogs sufficiently, as recent history has shown. Wild dogs are destroyed thousands of livestock each year, costing producers millions of dollars and destroying lives. Whereas dingoes were once the culprit and cause of attacks, it is now the cross-breed mongrel.
Over the years, we have seen fewer pastoralists caring for land, owing to their need to work more and more off the land. Wild dogs have been given free rein in some areas due to there being fewer people on stations to eradicate the animal. With fewer doggers, a decline in effective baiting and less rigour by local government in containing domestic dogs, we have seen the rise in wild dogs in the damage and devastation they cause. As the dogs become larger and more vicious, the effect they have, not only on sheep and cattle, is heartbreaking. I am actively seeking the state government's support for the Murchison Region Vermin Cell fence and also the development of a state-wide strategy for the management of wild dogs. I urge the federal government to play its part to save the pastoralist industry in my electorate of Durack.