Industry drives National Wild Dog Action Plan agenda

The National Wild Dog Action Plan Coordination Committee met in Sydney on July 26-27 to review the progress of Stage 3 and to provide strategic direction for the plan post June 2019.

This industry-led committee has strong producer representation and also includes members involved in research and extension, government policy development and environmental protection.

Most of Australia’s peak livestock industry councils are represented and have a dual role overseeing the Plan as well as the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions’ (CISS) National Wild Dog Coordination Project.

Stage 3’s daily operations, overseen by Australian Wool Innovation, are focused on supporting the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator Greg Mifsud in his role to promote best practice wild dog management.

Challenges

Greg told the committee of the Plan’s continued challenges to gain evidence of wild dog impacts, the amount of co-investment, and benefits to industry, environment and the community of successful control.

Ensuring availability of properly trained pest animal controllers and ongoing professional development for wild dog coordinators were also priorities.

Greg highlighted the need for more collaboration between organisations.

“Going forward, achieving best practice, long term suppression of wild dog populations and their impacts will be challenging and to do this we need to position national coordination of wild dog management efficiently within a network of related extension activities and networks,” he said.

“Maintaining community support for wild dog management, including its present suite of tools and techniques, is essential.”

Leadership

Experienced South Australian sheep and wool producer Geoff Power, of Livestock South Australia, was elected the NWDMCC Chair and all committee members acknowledged their roles as industry champions and spokespeople on state and national issues.

They also agreed to scoping the development of NWDAP for a new strategic period post June 2019.

During the meeting, the development of leadership capacity to deliver on new challenges was noted as a whole-of-industry responsibility.

Communications

Stage 3 is focused on promoting communication products developed during Stage 2, forging ongoing relationships with kindred organisations to increase audience reach and fostering better public understanding of wild dog management.

NWDAP’s Communications Coordinator Riccarda Brindley is also creating an ongoing legacy for the plan’s communications post June 2019 with the creation of a photo library and contact database.

Riccarda reported on several successful collaborative media releases with NSW Local Land Services and Meat and Livestock Australia, with the former creating, for the first time on PestSmart social media, informed public debate and support for the use of 1080.

Regular e-newsletters, website updates, producing positive wild dog management stories for publications and posting social media are ongoing.

The CISS Communications Team, led by Communications Manager Ian McDonald, continues to play a vital role in distribution, social media site moderation and strategic support.

Anyone wanting to support NWDAP and PestSmart communications strategies can subscribe by contacting info@nationalwilddogactionplan.org.au

Extension support material

The highly popular The Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs has been updated in preparation for reprinting and A Field Guide to Poison Baiting: Wild Dogs and Foxes has been reviewed.

To improve awareness and adoption of wild dog management best practice, the committee will investigate resources that can be delivered at field days and other industry events to expand the reach of best practice wild dog management messaging.

Measuring up

A well-debated topic, collecting metrics (measuring impacts, amounts of control delivered and resulting benefits) was discussed. A set of aspirational, minimum agreed metrics were developed during Stage 2, and despite consensus and agreement from the NWDAP stakeholder consultancy group, limited information was delivered by the states. A briefing paper to the Environment and Invasives Committee will be submitted, urging state governments to provide all available data possible with an understanding that this reporting process is developmental and expected to improve each year.

Committee member Scott Pickering, of the Western Australian Farmers Federation (WA Farmers), urged all stakeholders to contribute their available metrics, in whatever form, to encourage investor confidence in the action plan.

Industry and agency members highlighted the importance of publishing this information to evaluate the implementation of the existing plan but more importantly to benchmark the development the next generation of the National Action Plan from 2019.

Integrated Multiple Predator Management (IMPM)

The committee endorsed the key principles of IMPM which encourages stakeholders to acknowledge and adopt, into control plans, strategic measures for dealing with predators such as pigs, foxes and feral cats, that may undermine wild dog management programs.

IMPM would also help deliver broader biosecurity, environmental, production and social benefits.

Coming up

As part of its operational plan, Stage 3 is required to undertake a review of its performance and look to developing a new plan from June 2019. To progress this, a subcommittee was established and a timetable outlining the process will be developed.

Looking forward, the committee will approach stakeholders to contribute funding and in-kind support for the next Stakeholder Consultative Group meeting in February 2019. The intention is to consider a new draft of the Plan and work towards developing NWDAP’s future post June 2019.