Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Feral Animal Control

196 The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) ().30 November 2022). Can the minister advise: What (if any) assistance is being provided to livestock producers to develop a wild and feral animal control program?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I have been advised: that in 2021-22 almost $18 million was spent by the state government to support pest animal control programs, with $11.6 million of this investment coming from the regional landscape boards.

Hundreds of livestock producers are assisted each year by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), the Department for Environment and Water (DEW), and the regional landscape boards in the control of wild and feral animals.

Supporting livestock producers and other landholders to conduct activities on their land is integral to the success of wild and feral animal control programs. In 2021-22, a total of 32 community engagement events, such as masterclasses and farm visits, were delivered by staff from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions. Many more were delivered by staff from regional landscape boards. The 32 events run by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions upskilled over 500 land and natural resource managers in the use of tools and integrated management practices for the control of rabbits, foxes, feral deer, and kangaroos.

Staff from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions and landscape boards delivered another nine dedicated workshops involving hands-on training in wild dog behaviour and trapping and monitoring techniques to land managers experiencing impacts.

Since the 2019-20 bushfires, state government funded programs have removed a total of 871 feral pigs from Kangaroo Island, fewer than 30 feral pigs remain and their eradication from the island is expected by June 2023. This outcome is one of the few silver linings to emerge from the horrific bushfires.

The state government continues to support hundreds of livestock producers and other landholders with their feral deer control programs. Over 5,500 feral deer have now been removed in aerial control operations conducted by PIRSA, the Limestone Coast Landscape Board and the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board. These programs have engaged more than 70 landholders and covered over 194,000 hectares of private property and public lands.

For 30 years the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board, through their Bounceback initiative, has delivered annual aerial baiting programs targeting foxes. Since 2021 the Department of Primary Industries and Regions has undertaken four aerial baiting operations for the control of wild dogs, distributing 68,000 poison baits to inaccessible areas; on-ground programs have laid a further 90,000 wild dog baits.

As part of the state wild dog trapper program, the equivalent of three full-time wild dog trappers removed 36 wild dogs in 2021-22, with 726 removed in total since 2018-19. Bounty programs have paid $64,970 for foxes ($10 per fox) and $91,320 for wild dogs ($120 per wild dog since 2019-20) to livestock producers and other landholders.

Government has also supported landholders in pastoral areas to manage feral goats by reviewing policies to allow for the establishment of depots for short-term holding of goats on their properties. Baiting standards for wild dogs were also established in 2021-22.