The National Wild Dog Action Plan is a livestock-industry driven initiative that promotes a nationally coordinated approach to managing the negative impacts of wild dogs on primary production, environment and social assets throughout Australia.
This nationally-agreed framework is aligned with the Australian Pest Animal Strategy 2017-2027 and the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity 2012. It enshrines the principles of best practice management, meets community expectations for humane and ethical control measures, is owned and delivered by stakeholders embracing a collaborative, nil-tenure (no borders) approach.
Following extensive consultation and independent review, the first Plan (2014-2019) has been refreshed to ensure the next phase, NWDAP 2020-2030, continues to deliver latest best practice and technological advances as well as informs regional, state and national policy on wild dog management.
National Committee structure
Chair and Livestock SA representative – Geoff Power
Geoff is a South Australian wool grower running a merino sheep flock east of the Flinders Ranges. He is Livestock SA’s representative on the coordination committee and chairman of the South Australian Dog Fence Board. He believes it is imperative that wild dog control should be at the forefront of running a successful livestock business. Geoff was one of the original agitators for the National Wild Dog Action Plan, and he has a wealth of experience and knowledge of wild dog issues and is a champion of biodiversity protection and enterprise choice for farmers.
State and National Farming Organisation representatives
Victorian Farmers Federation – Peter Star
Peter owns a family-run Angus beef and superfine Merino enterprise in Victoria’s Upper Murray region and it the principal partner of the family owned farming partnership known as F J Star & Sons. The 1600 hectare Angus Beef Cattle and Superfine Merino enterprise is located in the Upper Murray Region of North East Victoria, with property located at Bethanga, Bungil, and Cudgewa. The family also owns land on the outskirts of Albury at Wirlinga.
AgForce Queensland – Karen Huskisson
Stud Merino Breeders’ Association of WA – Scott Pickering
Scott is the president of the Stud Merino Breeders’ Association of WA and a renowned sheep breeder running his successful poll merino sheep stud in a mixed sheep-cropping enterprise in the Esperance district in Western Australia. He is a passionate agricultural advocate, and lobbies for the completion of the State Barrier Fence’s long-awaited Esperance extension to protect sheep flocks from wild dog attacks.
WA Farmers Federation and Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA – Chris Patmore
West Australian prime lamb and wool producer Chris Patmore brings more than 25 years’ farming and business experience to the National Wild Dog Management Coordination Committee.
The Patmore’s farming business spans across five properties, comprising more than 10,000ha, throughout the mid-west and north-east wheat belt. They have been affected by wild dogs and estimate this impact cost them at least $20,000 a year in stock losses alone.
Chris feels it is important to continue to monitor and improve wild dog control inside the State barrier fence, make inroads into managing wild dogs inside fenced areas and outside the State barrier fence.
Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association – Adam Bowen
Adam is a professional contract pest controller, based in Katherine, Northern Territory. The most requested enquiry for his service is to reduce the impacts of wild dogs on livestock. He usually travels more than 30,000km a year, from the Queensland border to Adelaide River delivering control programs. Adam says that more pastoralists are taking stock of what they are losing and investing in good control programs, especially since cattle prices has risen. On one station in the Katherine region, up to 20% of weaners were being bitten or damaged by dogs and after two years of a managed control program, the number of calves weaned lifted by 20% and the number of animals damaged fell to 4-5%. Larger steers selected for NT live export and sent to fattening blocks are also being injured and devalued.
New South Wales Farmers Association – Craig Mitchell
As a wool producer from the Cooma area, Craig is well acquainted with the impacts of wild dogs and has been very active within his local wild dog control programs. He is chairman of the NSW Farmers’ Cooma Branch, the NSW Farmers Representative on the NSW State Pest Animal Committee and has previously served as a councillor on the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council.
National Farmers’ Federation – Mike Darby
Mike joined the NFF in December 2020 as the General Manager of Rural Affairs. Mike has held a number of senior policy positions across the agriculture sector, specialising in industry policy, research and trade analysis and brings a comprehensive knowledge about Australian and international agriculture to the role.
Peak Industry Councils
Australian Wool Innovation Limited – Ian Evans
Ian is the Program Manager, Vertebrate Pests, with Australian Wool Innovation Ltd and has been in the role since 2014. Prior to this he was the AWI Shearer and Wool handling Training Program Manager.
Ian has previously held roles as the NSW Agriculture mulesing project officer and wrote the National Mulesing Training Manual, and 19 years as sheep and wool officer also with NSW Agriculture.
He spent 10 year in the family farming and grazing business near Dunedoo, NSW and now lives near Deniliquin on a water-less irrigation farm.
Meat and Livestock Australia – Alana Boulton
Alana is the Northern Beef Adoption Project Manager for MLA based in Brisbane. She has a PhD in Livestock Production and have been involved in research with Dairy, Beef, Sheep and Goats in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
Wool Producers Australia – Adam Dawes
Adam is the General Manager at WoolProducers Australia. He grew up on a wool producing property near Yass in New South Wales and studied a Bachelor of Agriculture (Agronomy) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. Adam subsequently worked for 4 years as an agronomist in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales before moving into the federal Department of Agriculture, where he worked in various biosecurity and trade related roles.
Adam has recently returned to Australia having spent 4 years working for the Falklands Islands Government Department of Agriculture, initially as an agronomist and subsequently as the Senior Agricultural Advisor. During his time in the Falklands Adam worked with landowners to operationalise baiting programmes for the Patagonian Fox; an introduced pest from mainland South America, which remains a significant agricultural pest on a small number of outer islands.
Having joined WoolProducers Australia in September 2020, Adam is keen to contribute to the long-term sustainable growth of the Australian wool industry through improvements animal welfare, environmental management, consumer awareness and product advocacy, of which the National Wild Dog Action Plan plays a key role.
Sheep Producers Australia – Alister Oulton
As Policy Manager at Sheep Producers Australia, Alister has leadership and accountability for the management of policy and stakeholder relations relevant to SPA’s involvement in the health, welfare and biosecurity projects and committees.
Alister has a background in law, public policy and agricultural economics. Prior to joining Sheep Producers Australia, he worked with Australian Pork Limited and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, developing policy and managing programs in biosecurity, traceability, and drought preparedness.
SPA helps producers achieve the high standards customers demand by working to develop science- based sheep health and welfare policy and programs. We work with our service providers to manage endemic disease and biosecurity risks on- farm, improve welfare outcomes and minimise the risk of exotic diseases entering Australia. Predator management is another critical aspect of improving welfare. SPA supports bodies and research tackling invasive species, including the Wild Dog Action Plan that has been effective and is returning sheep to traditional grazing areas.
Cattle Council of Australia – Justin Toohey
Justin has over 30 years’ experience in policy development, implementation and advocacy for the Australian cattle and sheepmeat sectors. He has been the CEO of Cattle Council of Australia and Red Meat Advisory Council and is the current Chair of Animal Health Australia’s Industry Forum. Justin has been a director of his own company since 2002 and, in this capacity, has been engaged as an Advisor to peak national livestock bodies on matters of animal health, welfare, biosecurity and industry systems.
Given the impact wild dogs have on the welfare of livestock and native fauna, Justin is a strong supporter of the National Wild Dog Action Plan; he represents Cattle Council of Australia on the NWDAP Co-ordinating Committee.
Goat industry – Emily Litzow
Emily is a senior project officer with MLA, based in Brisbane where she manages the goat portfolio and several feedlot projects. She has a background is biosecurity and animal health and has experience with wild dog management while working for Local Land services including baiting programs. She has also seen first-hand, the destruction of livestock by wild dogs many times.
NSW Depart of Primary Industries – Peter Fleming
Peter is a Senior Principle Research Scientist and Research Leader, Predator and Prey Management with NSW DPI’s Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, Orange. He has researched the management of “wicked problem” animals, including wild dogs and foxes, for agricultural, environmental and social benefit. Peter engages stakeholders to improve management efficacy, effectiveness and cost-efficiency and was instrumental in setting up the National Wild Dog Facilitator position in the first Invasive Animals CRC. The nil-tenure approach to invasive animal management was formulated in his collaborative National Heritage Trust south east NSW and ACT wild dog management project. Peter was an inaugural member of National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group and contributed to writing and review of the National Wild Dog Action Plan.
Environment and Invasives Committee – Ben Russell
Ben is the Manager of the Pests and Weeds Unit for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). He has worked on pest and weed management with NPWS for over 14 years and before that spent 6 years at the University of New South Wales, teaching a wide range of biological and ecological subjects while completing his PhD. Dr Russell represents NSW on the National Environment and Invasives Committee as well as being the Chair of their Terrestrial Vertebrate Working Group. He is also a member of the NSW State Pest Animal Committee. He is involved in a wide range of projects on the impacts and management of the terrestrial vertebrate pests which threaten our native species and agricultural production, with colleagues in both government departments and academic institutions across Australia.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Shalan Scholfield
Shalan is the director of the Established pest animals and weeds section at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. She has over 15 years of government experience in a range of roles from resource management, biosecurity and compliance together with previous research and science based positions. In her role, Shalan is involved in biosecurity policy, programs and initiatives with a focus on post border biosecurity activities relevant to the management, containment and asset protection from established pests along with implementing programs with a focus on new and improved control tools, technologies, skills and knowledge to assist tackle established pest animal and weed impacts. Shalan is involved in the implementation of the Australian Pest Animal Strategy, the NWDAP 2014-2019, its review, and the development of the new NWDAP 2020-2030. She represents the Australian Government on the NWDAP Coordination Committee.
Centre for Invasive Species Solutions – Richard Price
Richard is the Portfolio (Research) Director of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions and has an immense amount of experience in the rural RD&E sector, with a particular focus on agricultural and environmental research. Working with Land & Water R&D Corporation, MLA, AWI, RIRDC and GRDC among others, Richard has managed several national R&D programs and a host of industry, government and community based extension, policy and supply chain initiatives. He is an Honorary Associate Professor at the Fenner School of Environment & Society (Australian National University), winner of an Australia Museum National Banksia Award for biodiversity research, Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology Fellow, and has sat on Boards of Cooperative Research Centres, NGOs and Committees of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering & Innovation Council.
Animal Health Australia – Dr Simon Humphrys
Simon is the Executive Manager, Biosecurity and Product Integrity Services at Animal Health Australia. Before taking on the Executive Manager role at AHA, Simon was a Program Leader at the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre where he effectively engaged government agencies, industry, and other stakeholders to successfully manage a portfolio of projects aimed at reducing the impact pest species have on animal health and biosecurity. He grew up on and is still engaged with the family farm on the northern Adelaide plains, and is also active in Australia’s equine industries. Simon holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (hons), a PhD in Medicine. He’s passionate about making R&D deliver tangible and beneficial outcomes for livestock producers and their broader industry advocates, as well as enhancing market access through improved animal health systems.
National Wild Dog Management Coordinator – Greg Mifsud
A wildlife ecologist, Greg has been involved in wild dog management for most of his career which has taken him from the wilderness of the Snowy Mountains to the deserts of inland Australia (and most of the farms in between). His passion for sustainable, best practice, humane management of wild dogs has seen him play an integral role in the NWDAP’s development and its ongoing success. Greg’s role is industry-funded by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, Australian Wool Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia, Cattle Council of Australia Sheep Producers Australia and Wool Producers Australia.
National Wild Dog Action Plan Implementation Manager – Wendy Allen
Wendy is an experienced project manager tasked with keeping our management team focused and achieving the goals of the NWDAP 2020-2030. She has extensive knowledge and experience in rural business management, event and project management, education and training as well as wide industry knowledge. With strong rural roots, Wendy grew up on a cropping and cattle farm in northern NSW and later owned a sheep and cattle property in western Queensland, before indulging her passion for promoting food production, tourism and agriculture.
National Wild Dog Management Plan Communications Coordinator – Riccarda Brindley
Riccarda is a communications consultant who lives cheek by jowl with wild dogs in North East Victoria. Her extensive experience in journalism has taken her from New Zealand to Sweden, via Hong Kong and the UK, with local sojourns on the Sunday Herald, The Weekly Times and Herald Sun as well as regional and rural media. When not promoting the benefits of the NWDAP (which is rare), she enjoys a hands-on role in her family’s Angus beef-breeding business at Lucyvale.