Media Release

Wild dogs attack more than farmer’s pockets

28 April 2014

A new report has found that wild dogs continue to be a major issue for Australian farmers, and it's not just the economic costs, with social and environmental costs estimated to be in the millions.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), An integrated assessment of the impact of wild dogs in Australia, which has been released today.

"This is the first time that any research has examined the full impact of wild dogs in Australia – the economic, social and environmental costs," Minister Joyce said.

"I know farmers are frustrated by wild dog attacks; and it’s not just the monetary costs associated with them - it's also about protecting the livestock which they have put their heart and soul into nurturing and raising.

"Even the ongoing threat of attack drives farmers to despair and makes them feel helpless in protecting their land that they—and generations before them—have worked hard to farm.

"We know that strong leadership and a coordinated on-the-ground effort is required.

"The challenge facing government is to implement policies and programs that support coordinated wild dog management but to do this in a way that does not compromise investments that farmers have already made in local wild dog control.

"The Australian Government will continue working with state and territory governments, industry groups and research bodies to ensure we are helping farmers now and into the future to combat this problem."

The ABARES study examined three case-study areas in different parts of Australia to evaluate the impact of wild dog management strategies.

"The South Western Queensland case study found that absence of wild dog management strategies could potentially cost the livestock market up to $54 million over 20 years – in an area that accounts for just 23 per cent of the state’s sheep and 4 per cent of the state's cattle.

"While the report paints a dire picture of the scale the wild dog problem, it also provides us with a strong platform to devise better strategies to tackle this issue.

"The Coalition recognises the seriousness of this problem for many farming communities which is why we provided $10 million for pest management – including wild dogs – as part of the drought package to assist affected farmers at this time of difficulty," Minister Joyce said today.

The full report and findings are available at www.daff.gov.au/abares