Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie has called on the new Labor Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, to allow the completion of a cattle grazing trial in the High Country and await the results, rather than rushing to shut it down for political reasons.
“The new Labor government hasn’t wasted any time in playing politics to appease the Greens while ignoring proper scientific processes,” Senator McKenzie said.
“They demand we listen to science on climate change but it’s not appropriate to do so for cattle grazing which has been approved on a trial basis under environment legislation that they support. Talk about double standards!
“The trial was approved by the federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt earlier this year to investigate bushfire fuel management using strategic grazing of cattle. It’s taking place on just 262 hectares of land within the boundaries of the former Wonnangatta Cattle Station and is subject to more than 30 strict conditions including environment, cultural and heritage assessments.
“The approval process was done thoroughly under the federal EPBC legislation and involved public consultation. The new Labor Victorian Government has no justification to abandon the trial.
“Labor and the Greens have long been vocal in the debate on cattle grazing; why not then wait for the results of the trial and adopt an educated rather than blinkered view of the issue?
“It is illogical and short-sighted to cut a scientific trial short on the basis of ideology. In fact, I strongly recommend the Victorian government commission overdue research in to the impact of wild deer and horses on the national park.”
Senator McKenzie said mountain cattlemen have been environmental stewards and land managers in Victoria’s alpine region for more than 190 years.
“If anything, they should be regarded by governments as a useful and reliable resource, contributing significant information to assist with the management of the alpine national park,” she said.
“Governments must also recognise that mountain cattlemen and the tradition of cattle grazing have contributed to local and national culture and Australia’s national identity. In addition, there’s the multi-million dollar injection to regional and the state’s economies.
“Let common-sense prevail, not succumb to the ignorant hysteria of city conservationists.”