Posted on 18. Mar, 2011 in News

The Victorian Labor Opposition welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to order cattle grazers from Victoria’s Alpine National Park, Shadow Minister for the Environment Lisa Neville said today.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced that he has received advice from his department that the introduction of cattle to the Alpine National Park may be a controlled action.

This means the Baillieu Government must either refer the matter to the Commonwealth, or the Commonwealth Government will force the referral.

“I commend the Federal Government on their decision, which is further proof that the Baillieu Government got it wrong when they reintroduced cattle grazing into Victoria’s High Country,” Ms Neville said.

“Mr Baillieu must now admit he made the wrong decision and ensure the cattle are removed by the 8 April deadline.

“This means cattle will not be allowed to return to the park until the ‘cattle grazing experiment’ undergoes a full and public assessment under national environmental law.

“It’s disappointing Mr Baillieu is more concerned with playing politics with one of the state’s most fragile natural parks than he is about protecting them.

“National Parks are there for all Victorians to enjoy and should not be used as cow paddocks.

“It’s important we protect our state’s most pristine eco-systems and that’s why we are opposed to cattle grazing in the High Country.”

Ms Neville said there were many questions that Mr Baillieu still needed to answer.

“We know 400 cattle have been allowed back into the Victorian high country already causing damage, but what we do not know is the details of the agreement with the cattlemen,” she said.

“We have repeatedly asked the Baillieu Government the most simple questions on their agreement with the cattlemen, which they have so far refused to answer.

“Are the contractors paying for the agistment in the high country provided to them, what is the total cost of the program and has the government sought to reclaim the compensation paid to cattlemen five years earlier?

“Victorians deserve to know the real reasons behind why the Baillieu Government reintroduced cattle back into the High Country when previous studies have already shown that it did not reduce fuel.

“Is it because they don’t want Victorians to know that their decision was political and had nothing to do with their so-called scientific trial? The refusal to allow public assessment goes against the Government’s commitment to open and transparent governance.

“This Government should be more concerned with taking steps to protect our environment rather than playing politics, and this decision by the Federal Environment Minister proves that.”

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