This story comes from the ABC. Journalist is Gus Goswell.
The Victorian Government has been ordered to hand over internal documents relating to its alpine cattle grazing trial.
The controversial trial in the Alpine National Park was blocked by the Federal Government but the State Government has launched an appeal.
It says the trial was designed to reduce the bushfire risk, based on scientific evidence.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has ordered that Department of Sustainability and Environment emails and scientific documents be made public.
The Environment Defenders Office applied for the documents on behalf of the Victorian National Parks Association.
Lawyer Felicity Milner from the Environment Defenders Office says the VCAT order is significant.
“We’re concerned about the scientific basis for the alpine cattle grazing trial,” she said.
“Certainly we want to see the documents to apply scrutiny to that decision and see whether or not it could be said to be backed up by proper science.
“If it is not backed up by proper science then we will be attacking the Government’s decision.
“The cattle grazing trial, as I understand it, has not gone ahead because the Federal Government has said it is unacceptable but the State Government is challenging that decision in the Federal Court.
“Based on public statements from the Government and the department we are of the understanding at this stage that they intend to continue with the alpine grazing trial if they are legally allowed to.”
Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has defended spending taxpayer dollars to try to stop the documents being released.
“The Government has taken a view about what material ought to be made public,” he said.
“You would expect the Government to reinforce the view it has about information and our understanding of the legislation.”
Mr Baillieu has not ruled out challenging the VCAT order.
“The Government will have a look at that judgment and we’ll make an assessment of it,” he said.
However, Mr Baillieu has confirmed the Government still wants to push ahead with the cattle grazing trial.
“We certainly maintain the view that the Commonwealth when it made its decisions didn’t do it on a basis that was thorough and comprehensive,” he said.