Legislative Council: Thursday, July 06, 2023


Fox Bounty

In reply to the Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) ().30 May 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I am advised:

I thank the honourable member for her question and provide the following response:

1. Fox Bounty

The fox bounty has seen more than 16,000 foxes collected under this scheme since October 2021, paying more than 100 producers over $160,000.

When the program was launched in October 2021, there was a set budget of $220,000. At $10 per fox, the total number of foxes that could be collected was 22,000, and as of June this year, almost 6,000 bounties remain to be claimed. Based on current collection rates, I am advised that the budget for the program will be fully subscribed by October 2023.

I continue to urge all South Australian producers to submit scalps to the program before it is due to end.

I have asked program staff to provide me with an evaluation of the program as it nears its planned completion, and to include future options for the scheme.

2. 1080 use

Baiting continues to remain the most effective tool for controlling foxes. I am advised that baiting rates have remained steady throughout the operation of the bounty, indicating that the bounty has not reduced landholder decisions about baiting.

The bounty program removes relatively few foxes compared to our statewide baiting programs. 22,000 foxes will have been destroyed over two years through the bounty. I am advised that regional landscape boards distribute 10 times that number of fox baits annually to landholders.

1080 remains one of the most important tools in the fight against feral animals in Australia. It is critical for protecting South Australia's $4.6 billion red meat and wool industry, and for protecting our unique native wildlife.

3. Funding for important feral animal programs

Together with the Australian government and primary industry groups, the state government is investing millions into feral animal control programs in South Australia, including ambitious programs such as the:

$15 million, 10-year Wild Dog Eradication Program

$14 million, 10-year Feral Deer Eradication Program

$5.8 million Kangaroo Island Feral Pig Eradication Program

In the 2022-23 financial year alone, over $25 million was spent on weeds and pest animals in South Australia. That expenditure included:

almost $17 million from the Biosecurity Division of the Department of Primary Industries and Region

over $8 million by the regional landscape boards

over $2 million from the Department for Environment and Water.