AN INQUIRY has urged the Victorian government to reintroduce dingoes in isolated areas through a trial.
The move could bolster central Victorian dreams of bringing back other animals killed off over centuries of colonisation including the quoll and emus.
The three species are totems for different clans linked to the Dja Dja Wurrung.
Indigenous leader Rodney Carter has previously confirmed members of the Dja Dja Wurrung have held "very early" talks with authorities over the introduction of lost or extremely rare species in different areas of the state.
"We haven't got a clear line of sight about how we would get to this idea of 'rewilding' but the idea of it is sound," he said last December.
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry into ecosystem decline has now told the government that the evidence for the reintroduction of the apex predator is "compelling".
"As Australia's apex predator, dingoes play an important role in regulating large herbivore populations (for example, kangaroos which may be overabundant in some areas) and can help suppress invasive pest species such as feral goats, foxes and cats," the inquiry said in a scathing report into the state of Victoria's ecosystems.
The inquiry would like to see a "comprehensive trial" exploring how dingo introduction might work.
Multiple groups including the Dja Dja Wurrung have argued that dingoes would bring sorely needed balance back to ecosystems.
They have pointed to the successful reintroduction of the wolf to large tracts of North America as a study in how the return of the dingo could work.
The inquiry believes that the Victorian government's trial should take place in consultation with Traditional Owners as well as ecologists and dingo experts.
"[It should] take place in a park or conservation reserve where dingoes previously occurred, but have since suffered localised extinction," it said.
If the trial is to work, land managers will need to stop using poison and other lethal pest control methods in the area, the inquiry found.
The government would also need to run the trial in close consultation with land managers to make sure stock had protection. The inquiry suggested the use of companion guard animals.
Farmers might also need to be compensated for lost stock in the trial area, it said.
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The reintroduction of dingoes could eventually help replace the use of 1080 poisons for pest control in ecosystems.
The inquiry recommended the government start phasing out the poisons on public land by next July, with a wider ban in agriculture by December 2023.
The inquiry said the shift should go hand-in-hand with increased research into more effective and humane pest control ideas.
Multiple groups voiced skepticism about 1080 poisons because pests like feral cats can reproduce faster than they can be baited.
The poisons could also be eaten by quolls, dingoes and other native animals, one group said.
Other groups including the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning told the inquiry that 1080 was an effective management tool that has been shown to reduce feral pest numbers.
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