Snap change to wild dog control in Victoria leaves producers vulnerable

The decision by the Victorian Government to immediately end the dingo unprotection order in northwest Victoria has left sheep and cattle producers in the region ill-equipped to prevent wild dog attacks on their livestock.

The order had declared the dingo to be unprotected wildlife on all private land and on public land within 3km of a private land boundary in specified areas of the state. This allowed control activities, such as lethal control, to take place in the areas where it was deemed to be unprotected wildlife, an important measure that helped reduce the impacts of wild dogs on Victoria’s natural environment and livestock.

Despite extending the dingo unprotection order last October to allow for a 12-month review, the Victorian Government decided yesterday that the order would cease altogether in northwest Victoria.

The Victorian Government’s decision came as a surprise to the National Wild Dog Action Plan Coordination Committee, which is comprised of representatives from state farming organisations, peak industry councils, research bodies and government.

Geoff Power, Chair of the Committee, said the decision could have a severe impact on livestock producers in the northwest region and it was extremely disappointing that industry was not involved or consulted in this decision.

“The economic and environmental impacts of wild dogs are significant, not to mention the emotional toll on producers when they experience attacks on their livestock,” said Mr Power.

“Removing the dingo unprotection order in the northwest could be the first step in undermining the state’s $4.5 billion sheep and wool industry and the 9,200 jobs that it provides for Victorian residents.”

Greg Mifsud, the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator, said the Committee has written to the Victorian Government several times to seek clarity on the review process and to offer their support to ensure the review process is robust and evidence based.

“The reality is that the dingo unprotection order provides a balance between wild dog control and dingo conservation. The order only operates in 1.6 million of the 4.7 million hectares of public lands in the east and northwest of the state, leaving over 3.1 million hectares of public lands including state forest and national park where dingoes are free from lethal control,” said Mr Mifsud.

“However, without the order in northwest Victoria, it’s only a matter of time before wild dogs spread to other parts of western Victoria. For industry, this decision is the realisation of their worst fears – of being almost powerless to protect the welfare of their animals from wild dog attacks. It begs the question of when does the welfare of one animal trump the welfare of another?”

With the dingo unprotection order remaining in place for eastern Victoria until 1 October 2024, Mr Power said industry would continue its attempts to engage with the Victorian Government during the remainder of the review process.

“For industry, it’s not about eradication of dingoes, it’s about control. While this decision is devastating for producers in northwest Victoria, the NWDAP Coordination Committee is hopeful that it can work with the Victorian Government during the remaining six months of the review to find a balanced approach to wild dog control in the state,” said Mr Power.

For more information about the NWDAP, visit