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Beyond the Bale : September 2018
44 ON FARM AWI is co-funding two new wild dog coordinator positions in Queensland. Their role is to assist woolgrowers and other key stakeholders to work together to lessen the impact of livestock predation by wild dogs. Reducing these attacks will improve on-farm productivity, rural community wellbeing and rural biodiversity. AWI is co-funding the two new positions, with further support from MLA Donor Company, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Queensland regional bodies of Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) and the South West Regional Economic Development Association (SWRED). Skyela Kruger, who started in the position in April, is based in St George and is servicing the South West shires. Originally from Yaraka, Skyela grew up on several rural properties. She has lived around St George since 2010, with her family managing rural properties in the area, and she now lives on a mixed farming property east of St George. “Coordination is the key to effectively managing wild dogs across the state – everyone I’ve spoken to is keen to get on top of the issue,” Skyela said. “One of the issues in the area is absentee landholders, which can result in large gaps in programs if control measures are not being undertaken. This can be frustrating for other local producers. I plan on speaking with absentee landholders, to let them know about their neighbours’ concerns and try to get all landholders to work together.” Rohan Dent, who also has a mixed farming background, is based in Blackall in central- west Queensland. His role, which began in May, includes supporting and assisting stakeholders and local wild dog committees of the seven shires in the RAPAD area. “I have a liaison role, attending committee meetings and bait days, and encouraging the wild dog committees to work closely together. The challenge is to bring together TWO NEW QUEENSLAND WILD DOG COORDINATORS Two new wild dog coordinators have recently been appointed in Queensland to work with woolgrowers and other stakeholders to help strengthen rural communities’ efforts to assist with sustained on-the-ground control of wild dogs. (Left) New wild dog coordinator for south-west Queensland, Skyela Kruger, who is based at St George. (Right) New wild dog coordinator for central-west Queensland, Rohan Dent, who is based at Blackall. a wide range of personalities and opinions, of people who are often undertaking a wide range of other roles,” Rohan said. “I already knew some of the key people involved, so I feel I have hit the ground running. However, I don’t underestimate my task. One of the many issues of keeping landholders engaged in control is absentee landholders or those that have destocked or moved out of wool. Increasing the awareness to those landholders of the impacts to other livestock enterprises and their neighbours is also part of the role. The main goal is to engage with all stakeholders regardless of land tenure and support them as best we can to achieve a positive pest management outcome.” Brett Carlsson (Senior Wild Dog Coordinator / North Queensland) along with Skyela and Rohan, speak weekly, working toward building effective coordination and action across approximately 70% of the state. COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION IS VITAL AWI Program Manager Vertebrate Pests, Ian Evans said collaboration between local landholders is vital but can be challenging without external help. “Woolgrowers recognise the vital need for wild dog control, but they often don’t have the relationships with all land managers across sometimes vast distances as in Queensland that are needed to be able to work together on the dog problem,” he said. “Nor do they necessarily have all the skills or resources to combat dogs, and those people that are actively involved in dog control can often feel burnout due to the scale of the problem and low participation within a region. “That is why communities need a coordinator to step in and help out. They need somebody independent, who can break down these barriers and get landholders working locally and across shires.” Wild dog coordinators use a ‘nil-tenure landscape level’ approach with local communities that highlights the benefit of focusing on the ‘common problem’ rather than attributing ownership of the wild dogs to individual land managers. This approach can re-instil good working relationships between private and public land managers. More importantly, it can have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of farmers in the area who now feel that something positive is being done to address the constant financial and emotional impact of wild dogs. Through this consultative process local farmers can not only share in the ‘ownership’ of the decision making but can identify and pursue the resources required to successfully implement a local and regional solution. AWI-FUNDED WILD DOG COORDINATORS AWI funding for the appointment of the two new wild dog coordinators in Queensland complements AWI funding for wild dog coordinators in other states. • Queensland (south-west): Skyela Kruger 0429 232 089 • Queensland (central-west): Rohan Dent 0437 116 875 • NSW (north-east): Dave Worsley 0429 638 078 • NSW (western): Bruce Duncan 0409 515 471 • Victoria (Gippsland): Brian Dowley 0408 436 600 and Lucy-anne Cobby 0488 712 616 (shared position) • Victoria (north-east): Michael Freeman 0477 358 061 • Western Australia: Meja Aldrich 0417 622 780
In the Shops - September 2018