Ms CATE FAEHRMANN (12:38:14): My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Energy and Environment, the Hon. Don Harwin.
It has taken decades to minimise aerial 1080 baiting and instead use monitored bait stations due to potential impacts on non-target animals, particularly native carnivores like spotted quolls and dingoes. Recent research has found that, of 783 wild canines killed as part of pest control measures in New South Wales, one in four were pure dingoes while most were genetically more than three-quarters dingo. What measures is the Government taking to distinguish between wild dogs and dingoes and to ensure that native dingo populations and spotted tail quolls are not being wiped out by aerial 1080 baiting?
The Hon. DON HARWIN (Special Minister of State, Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (12:38:58): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am advised that, unfortunately, one of the largest threats to our native animals is feral predation. The scientists are telling us that we need to control feral predation or risk the extinction of some of our unique and beloved animals. The experts tell us that feral control needs to occur at a landscape level. The most effective way to undertake feral control at the landscape level is through baiting with 1080. The use of 1080 in New South Wales is tightly controlled under the Pesticides Act 1999 and is regulated by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service undertakes a risk assessment prior to the use of 1080 to minimise negative impacts on non-target species.
I am advised that extensive scientific research has shown that NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service's current baiting techniques, particularly aerial application, do not impact quoll populations. In regards to wild dogs, a wild dog is any dog living in the wild, including feral dogs, dingoes and their hybrids. The proportion of pure dingoes in remaining populations is not accurately known, but to minimise the impacts on dingoes the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service avoids baiting for dingoes in core areas of some national parks. Feral predation is one of the largest threats our native species face. While there are some challenges with using 1080, it must be remembered that if we do not bait our native species will suffer and struggle to recover from the impacts of the bushfires. However, we should not underestimate the destructive impact of feral predation on our native species.