Following the announcement of a scientific review of the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell and Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen have appointed Professor Hugh Possingham to chair the independent Review Steering Committee.
“We have said that this would be an independent, scientific, peer-reviewed process. Professor Possingham and his fellow committee members will carry out the peer-review of the work completed by EcoSure,” Mr Powell said.
The Review Steering Committee will comprise experts representing a broad spectrum of interests including community consultation, wildlife research and population studies, as well as animal ethics.
“Committee members’ selection has been based on their widely recognised expertise across these fields and their independence of any previous involvement with the management of dingoes on Fraser Island,” Mr Powell said.
Hugh Possingham is Professor of Ecology at the University of Queensland and is respected as one of the world’s top ecologists.
Prof. Possingham has co-authored 330 refereed publications (including 21 in Science, Nature or Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and has worked on a range of conservation programs.
Prof. Possingham will be joined by Fraser Island World Heritage Area Community Advisory Committee member, Sue Sargent.
Sue Sargent is a coastal and marine scientist who has been working in the Wide Bay Burnett since 1997 – the last eight years with natural resource management body, the Burnett Mary Regional Group.
Minister Powell said further appointments would be finalised and announced in coming days.
“As we stated last week we have intentionally sought people from across Australia to have a fresh look at the Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy,” Mr Powell said.
“I have consistently said I will not be prescriptive on any findings of this independent peer review, but I do have full confidence in the members of this committee to oversee this review with openness and integrity.”
“We expect that community members, scientists and traditional owners will be able to have their say during this review period and those views will be taken into account along with scientific data and independent research findings.”
Mr Sorensen said the Newman government will use this review to provide greater certainty around dingo management on Fraser Island.
“We will use a science- based approach to ensure the sustainability of this dingo population while maintaining the safety of tourists who visit the island,” Mr Sorensen said.
The public will be updated as the review progresses with EcoSure set to release its draft report later this year.