Queensland councils fear they will have to foot the bill for a wild dog baiting program as the state government abandons its stockpile of 1080.
- 1080, or sodium fluoroacetate, is a toxin used to in wild dog baiting programs to control numbers of the pest animal
- The Queensland government has had a stockpile of the 1080 concentrate since the 1970s, supplying councils with the toxin
- As the stockpile runs out, some councils are concerned they won’t have enough for their September baiting programs
Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner confirmed the stockpile of the toxin used to control pests, which had been maintained since the 1970s, was now depleted.
“There are now many commercial providers of 1080 and other products and manufacturers have sufficient supply for our current needs,” he said.
Councils that relied on the supply to encourage landholders to control populations of wild dogs, feral pigs, cat and rabbits through free baiting programs, now fear they will have to fund the programs themselves.
Chair of the Paroo Shire Wild Dog Advisory Committee and grazier Peter Lucas said it seemed as if the government was “wiping their hands of 1080”.
He says the shire is unsure if they will get enough 1080 concentrate to finish its spring baiting program, which is set to start in September during the usual wild dog breeding season.
“We still don’t know what is left in that stockpile at the moment,” Mr Lucas said.
When the shire enquired about obtaining more 1080 it was told it would likely have to purchase it from a commercial supplier as the government may not be able to supply the required amount.
Mr Lucas estimates that without the government stockpile the shire would be required to pay an estimated $10,000 a year more, on top of its usual $80,000 spend on the two baiting programs.
Commercial baits ‘unsuitable’
Not only was the extra cost of purchasing 1080 a concern, but Mr Lucas was also worried about the commercial requirements to administer 1080.
Traditionally, when applying the 1080 concentrate to animal meat it would be rolled by putting it in a cement mixer and sprayed with the toxin.
Now, when using the commercially purchased 1080, Mr Lucas says they will have to inject the meat in line with the label instructions from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
Enough to go around: ACTA
Animal Control Technology Australia (ACTA) is the country’s main commercial supplier of 1080 concentrate and baits — one of just two in the country.
Managing director Linton Staples said the end of the stockpile would see Queensland come into line with other states’ baiting programs.
“It’s really no longer necessary or appropriate for the government to stand in that space,” he said.
“State boundaries don’t matter to feral pests so we must strive for a national approach.”
As for whether there is enough stock to cover the extra purchases that will come from Queensland, Dr Staples says there is more than enough.
“We do have reserves of chemical as necessary and can obtain more,” he said.
Dr Staples said the loss of the stockpile and the subsequent increased costs to councils were “inevitable”.
“If you stop providing things for free, the cost will go up,” he said.
“But the cost of the chemical is a very small part of the cost of any pest control program.”
Government funding to assist councils
As the state government moves away from state-supplied 1080, it has announced funding for councils that run baiting programs to assist in the purchasing of the concentrate and required equipment.
Of the 46 LGAs that applied for the funding under Round 6 of the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative, all were successful.
As part of the latest round, the LGAs will have almost $370,000 to help support their baiting programs.
Mr Lucas however, is worried this funding won’t be sufficient to cover the costs of all local government baiting programs.
“I can see shortfalls happening there,” he said.