RENEWED calls from mountain cattleman for alpine grazing trials have been answered by the Victorian Government this week.
A permit has been lodged with the Federal Government for a three-year cattle grazing trial in the Wonnangatta Valley, with environment Minister Greg Hunt now having the final say on the issue.
A State Government spokesperson said the referral was sent on Monday and they await the decision.
“The referral relates to a small section of the Alpine National Park, the Wonnangatta Valley which was previously grazed for over 170 years,” the spokesperson said.
“The Victorian Government is honouring its commitment to land management and reducing the risk of bushfire.
“The experience and expertise of the cattlemen gathered over 170 years should be included in the way we manage our land and bushfire reduction.”
The Victorian Farmers Federation has called on Mr Hunt to fast-track the permit.
Omeo VFF branch president Simon Turner said they were hoping common sense prevails.
“The former Labor Government’s refusal to revive alpine grazing has damaged the alps – not only has it left the area bushfire prone, it has risked wiping out a 200-year-old tradition,” he said.
“Since alping grazing came to an end, fuel loads have reached dangerous levels and valleys have been choked with weeds."
The new proposal details 60 head of cattle being reintroduced into the area, which sits between Mount Buller, the Great Dividing Range and the Snowy River.
Victorian National Parks Association spokesperson Phil Ingamells said moving the proposed trial to the lower altitude area of Wonnangatta Valley was an admission by the Napthine Government that cattle don’t belong on the high plains.
“His government has already spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff time, lawyers and media blitzes trying to justify its attempts to return cattle to the national park, when there is abundant evidence that cattle grazing in the alps is not effective in reducing bushfires, and does considerable harm to the high country,” he said.
- Full story in the Stock & Land November 28 edition