WA looks set to introduce a bounty on wild dogs taking a huge toll on livestock in rural areas after a shift in the State Government's position on the issue.
Agriculture Minister Ken Baston said he regarded bounties as key to controlling wild dogs and foxes, in combination with professional doggers, baiting programs and upgrading WA's barrier fence.
Mr Baston told Parliament that he planned to support a bounty program in the rangelands by offering funding through recognised biosecurity groups.
"The Australian experience is that payment of bounties leads to a reduction in the number of wild dogs and foxes," he said.
Mr Baston was responding to questions from Shooters and Fishers Party MP Rick Mazza, who has asked the Government to make a $100 bounty on wild dogs and a $20 bounty on foxes available to any licensed shooter in WA.
The move would bring WA in line with Victoria, which doubled its bounty on wild dogs from $50 to $100 this year. Under its system, more than 130,000 foxes and 430 wild dogs have been eradicated in less than two years. The Government said two weeks ago that it did not support bounties because they could encourage a "scalp-count" mentality.
Mr Mazza is also campaigning against the Government's huge increases in firearm licensing fees and moved in the Legislative Council yesterday to disallow the rises.
The cost of an individual firearms licence rose 55 per cent to $246.30 and the fee for adding a firearm to an existing licence soared by 134 per cent to $169.50 on July 1.
The move angered farmers and pastoralists who rely on firearms to dispatch injured stock and control vermin, including wild dogs and foxes.