The McGowan Government has today set the record straight on the status of the Western Australian dingo, following claims that prohibited methods can be legally used to kill dingoes.
There has been no change to the status of dingoes under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 compared to the Wildlife Conservation Act that dates back to the 1950s.
Last year the Minister for Environment made an order under section 271 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act which retained the dingo’s status as native fauna, but provided exemptions for activities that would ordinarily be controlled under the Act and regulations.
Claims that prohibited methods can be used to kill dingoes are false as the Animal Welfare Act 2002 still applies. This means that a dingo cannot be disturbed or taken inhumanely. The Animal Welfare Act 2002 provides an offence for cruelty, with a minimum penalty of $2,000 and a maximum penalty of $50,000 and imprisonment for five years. Additionally, the use of poisons and explosives is strictly controlled by other legislation and these methods cannot be used without the appropriate licences or authorities.
Wild dogs, including dingoes, feral dogs and hybrids are recognised as declared pests for the whole of Western Australia under section 22 of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007.
Control options are provided through the Western Australian Wild Dog Action Plan 2016-2021.
Western Australia’s policy for wild dog management is to control all wild dogs, including dingoes, in and near livestock grazing areas in Western Australia. Currently, dingoes may be taken anywhere in the State without a Biodiversity Conservation Act licence, however, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions will continue to manage occurrences of the dingo for their cultural and ecological significance on lands that it manages, such as in national parks and nature reserves.
As noted by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
“There has been some media coverage and subsequent commentary over the past few days suggesting that new BC Exemptions Order 2018 means prohibited methods can be legally used to kill dingoes. These claims are false. It is still an offence for a dingo to be disturbed or taken inhumanely.
“I recognise that the dingo is an iconic species that has significant heritage and cultural significance and is an important part of Aboriginal and broader Australian culture.
“The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions will aim to engage the Humane Society International to combat the misinformation that has surfaced over the past few days.”