In a nicely orchestrated media piece, it has been announced via The Australian newspaper that the Victorian government will propose a three year cattle grazing trial in the Wonnangatta Valley, within the Alpine national park.
The paper reports that the government is supporting a three-year trial of cattle grazing in the Wonnangatta Valley, one of the main south flowing river systems in the central Alps.
“Victorian Environment Minister Ryan Smith will refer the issue to the Abbott government on Monday, backing a scientific study during the summer months of about 60 head of hereford and angus cattle”. The Victorian government has not yet issued a statement on the trials.
While previous attempts by the Coalition have been soundly attacked by scientists for the poor basis of the research framework, apparently this new trial will be “part of a scientific investigation of bushfire prevention options across 2200 hectares.”
Mountain cattleman Charlie Lovick is reported as saying he hopes this trial will re open access for grazing to a broader area.
The report says that the “preservation of Australian bush heritage will be crucial to the application” that will go to the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, for approval.
The Wonnangatta was settled by Europeans in the 1860’s and incorporated into the national park in 1988. It is a lowland area compared with the previous attempt by the Victorian government to re-introduce grazing. One has to assume that should this trial be a success at reducing fuel load and weeds, then there would be an attempt to introduce it at higher elevations, where the science clearly shows that ‘grazing does not reduce blazing’.
The Victorian environment minister Ryan Smith (who is a member of the far right Institute of Public Affairs, well known for its anti –environment agenda) said “it’s not an ideological position, it’s a land-management issue.”
Assuming Greg Hunt approves the ‘scientific survey’, grazing could start as early as January 2014.
A spokesman for Mr Hunt said yesterday the government would assess the referral when it was received in accordance with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
If the prospect of grazing in the park troubles you, please contact the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, making it clear you would not support such a move.
Alpine grazing is about politics, not good policy. @GregHuntMP – please: No cows in the Alpine Park.
For background on the grazing issue, please see here.