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Thwaites ensures rural electorate backlash

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You will be incensed when you read the article below. For the deputy premier to dump the blame for our wild dogs’ curse squarely on the community is insane … expecially with the State Election just a few months away.

This is the same non-bending minister who, yesterday on ABC Goulburn Murray, dismissed the plight of irrigators who received no water allocation this year but still required to pay 100% of their water allocation fee.

It is also the same minister bent on the decommissioning of Lake Mokoan. And when Bracks retires, Thwaites would be the leader – God forbid he becomes the premier!

Thwaites dumps blame for our wild dogs’ curse squarely on community

FARMERS and hunters are to blame for the plague of wild dogs running amok in Victoria, the State Environment Minister John Thwaites said yesterday.

He also rejected aerial baiting as a solution and dismissed evidence from a five-year trial in southern NSW that backed its use.

The minister said that study was irrelevant to the North East.

Yesterday Mr Thwaites was asked whether his Government would accept responsibility for injury or possible death when someone is attacked by wild dogs.

It was a question tabled by the Tallangatta Valley Progress Association earlier this month and until yesterday still unanswered.

“Wild dogs are there because people have done the wrong thing and allowed dogs to get away,” he said.

“It’s a community responsibility as well as the Government’s.

“We have spent more than any previous government on dog control.

“We’ve doubled the dollars and 5000 dogs have been trapped or shot in recent years.

“In most areas the attacks are on the decrease.”

Yesterday Tallangatta Valley farmer Kim Bucholtz doubted any of his neighbours had contributed to the wild dog population.

“We are too busy trying to get rid of them, I’m surrounded by traps, we’ve shot five dogs in the past month and we are still losing calves,” Mr Bucholtz said.

Mr Thwaites also said people were “kidding” themselves if they thought aerial baiting would solve the wild dog problem.

“It is not the panacea to the problem it is |just an addition to the armoury,” Mr Thwaites said.

“And aerial baiting needs further research.

“It wouldn’t be wise to impose aerial baiting without proper scientific analysis.”

Trials in NSW have deemed the baiting safe for native animals and the program has expanded in that state.

But Mr Thwaites said those results could not be transposed on the North East.

“We were influenced by the study in southern NSW but we have different native wildlife and are uncertain what effect the baiting would have on areas like the Tallangatta Valley,” he said.

“We have different native animal populations.”

Minister ‘has no idea’
MPs lash Thwaites on wild dog issue

THE Victorian Environment Minister, John Thwaites, has no real concept of the wild dog problem, it was claimed yesterday.

The member for Benambra, Tony Plowman, said he was shocked by comments made on Friday by Mr Thwaites on a crucial issue and he was radically wrong.

Mr Thwaites said when visiting the area that farmers and hunters were to blame for the plague of wild dogs and rejected aerial baiting as a solution despite a five-year trial in southern NSW that backed its use.

Mr Plowman said Mr Thwaites was “pandering to the Green preference” and had played down the significance of aerial baiting in wild dog control.

“He has no concept of the real situation and it has been shown that by reducing predators there is an increase in wildlife,” Mr Plowman said.

The member for Benalla, Bill Sykes, said the time has come for the introduction of aerial baiting and it was an integral part of wild dog control as shown in NSW.

Dr Sykes said Mr Thwaites was “cringing under the Greens’ pressure” and the Government has to take responsibility for its vermin and weeds on its extensive tracts of land.

A member for North Eastern Province, Bill Baxter, said Mr Thwaites was “completely out of touch and so far removed from reality”.

Mr Baxter said the terrain in NSW where aerial baiting was so successful was identical to the Upper Murray and Tallangatta Valley.

Mr Plowman spoke in Parliament last Wednesday about the wild dog and weed problem.

He said he had recently spoken to a wild dog expert who has been aerial baiting in the New England area of NSW for the past 40 years.

There are large numbers of tiger quoll in the area with the virtual eradication of dogs.

Mr Plowman said the baits were dropped along trails travelled by dogs, foxes and feral cats.

He said by baiting along those tracks it kept the feral population “to a minimum”.

Mr Plowman said aerial baiting was far more successful than ground baiting because dogs were sensitive to the human smell left behind with ground baits.

“We are spending probably three times more than we need to on the invasion of wild dogs on to private land because were are not controlling them on public land,” Mr Plowman said.

“Unless we are prepared to control them on public land, we will never overcome the problems on private land.”

Aerial baiting ‘no miracle solution’ for wild dogs

The Victorian Government says aerial baiting will not solve the wild dog problem in the north-east of the state.

It is investigating introducing baiting but is concerned the baits will kill the native quoll.

The New South Wales Government says aerial bait testing in the state’s south-east has proved successful and not had too much impact on the native quoll populations.

But Environment Minister John Thwaites says aerial baiting is not the miracle solution.

“This is not some sort of panacea and people who think that aerial baiting is removing the problem are kidding themselves,” he said.

“It is one possible addition to the armoury that we can have but the best things that we can do is trapping out there with the wild dogs, which we are doing now, and that is having a significant difference.”


Written by Greg Naylor

26 August 2006 at 7:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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