No to alpine grazing

A MOTION to allow mountain cattlemen to resume grazing in the High Country was defeated on party lines in Federal Parliament by one vote this week.

If passed, the motion, introduced into parliament by Gippsland MHR Darren Chester, would have overturned the Federal Government’s ban on alpine grazing.

The ban was in response to the State Government allowing about 400 cattle to the Alpine National Park last year as part of a bushfire mitigation trial.

The motion was defeated 71 votes to 70.

Mr Chester said the ban ignored more than 150 years of culture and knowledge built up by mountain cattlemen and showed a lack of understanding of the issues affecting regional Australia.

“The Victorian government took a clear policy to the state election in 2010 that it would reintroduce cattle grazing to the Alpine National Park,” Mr Chester told parliament.

“The only thing the Victorian government has been guilty of is honouring that promise — the promise they made to the Victorian people that they would reintroduce cattle grazing to the Alpine National Park.”

Mr Chester said the State Government had every right to commission a trial into the strategic use of cattle grazing to reduce the impact of bushfires.

Victorian National Park Association parks protection officer Phil Ingamells said the defeat of the motion reaffirmed that the State Government’s cattle grazing trial was deeply flawed from the start.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.