Review of wild dog control program in Victoria

Update to wild dog control in northwest Victoria

The Victorian Government has decided to end the dingo unprotection order in northwest Victoria, as of 14 March 2024. The dingo unprotection order remains in place for eastern Victoria until 1 October 2024, whilst it is under review.

This decision could have a severe impact on livestock producers in the northwest region.

For more information visit the Victorian Government’s website here.

About the review

The dingo unprotection order, made by an Order in Council under the Wildlife Act, declares 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 to take place in the areas where it was deemed to be unprotected wildlife.

The Order in Council is renewed every five years and was due for renewal on 1 October 2023. However, the Victorian Government announced the Order in Council would be extended for 12 months, expiring on 1 October 2024, to allow for its review.

However, as of 14 March, the Victorian Government has ended the dingo unprotection order in northwest Victoria.

As per the Victorian Government’s website, a new Order in Council has been made under section 7A of the Wildlife Act, declaring the dingo as unprotected within a 3km buffer zone on public land in eastern Victoria and on most private land across the state.

The new unprotection order will revoke and replace the order made in October 2023 and will have effect for the remainder of the term of the previous Order (i.e. until 1 October 2024). This new Order excludes northwest Victoria.

The Victorian Government’s Wild Dog Control Program employs 20 wild dog control staff to trap, ground bait and aerial bait in the 3km Livestock Protection zone to limit the number of wild dogs/dingoes moving out of public land to kill livestock and domestic pets on adjoining private properties.

If the Order in Council is not renewed for eastern Victoria all wild dog management activities on public land will cease. The Order in Council has already ceased as of 14 March 2024 in northwest Victoria.

The potential impacts

Changes to Victoria’s wild dog control program would have serious implications for Victoria’s wildlife and the economy, putting at risk the state’s $4.5 billion sheep and wool industry and the 9,200 jobs that it provides for rural Victorian residents. It would also raise serious questions about the welfare of cattle and sheep in Victoria, if they are unable to be adequately protected from injuries and death inflicted by wild dog attacks.

Wild dog attacks also cause a substantial emotional toll on producers who deal with the grisly aftermath of dog attacks on their livestock.

Much of the publicly available information on wild dogs is emotionally driven and highly contested, and many popular views about wild dogs are not supported by strong evidence.

For example, dingo conservation groups claim that dingoes are persecuted across the entirety of Victoria and that there is some risk of them being driven to extinction. However, the Victorian Wild Dog Program only operates in 1.60 million of the 4.7 million hectares of public lands in the east and north-west of the state. This provides over 3.1 million hectares of public lands including state forest and national park where dingoes are free from lethal control.

The last decade has also seen an increase in some groups seeking to have legislation or policy changed on the basis that dingoes suppress feral cats and foxes. Each of these changes have been rejected and the most reliable research (see the paper Stuck in the mud: Persistent failure of ‘the science’ to provide reliable information on the ecological roles of Australian dingoes’), supports such rejections.

Whilst the National Wild Dog Action Plan acknowledge the environmental and cultural significance of the dingo, legislative mechanisms like the unprotection order are critical to ensure livestock, wildlife and domestic pets are protected.  For industry, it’s not about eradication of dingoes, it’s about control.

The review process

The Victorian Government has extended the Order in Council for eastern Victoria to allow time for the Government to review regulatory arrangements and agree on a balanced future policy.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan Coordination Committee has written to the Victorian Government to seek clarity on the review process and to offer their support to ensure the review process is robust and evidence based. The Committee will continue to engage with the Victorian Government as the review process progresses.

The Committee comprises of representatives from state farming organisations, peak industry councils, state and federal governments and research and development organisations. Find out more about the Committee here.

The Committee will share further information on the review process, including how industry may be able to be involved, as it becomes available. If you have any questions, please contact

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