Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 15, 2010

Wednesday, 15 December 2010 – Grazing on public lands – widespread disagreement.mber

I was interested in the little dispute which seems to arisen within the new Coalition government in Victoria, regarding the grazing of cattle and sheep, etc, on public lands and national parks. Back in 2005, the then Labor Government decided to ban grazing of cattle in  Victoria’s high country alpine areas, a decision which was attacked widely at the time. As a rural editorial today notes “It was a decision, they believed, symptomatic of a government that had lost touch with the views of the bush, prepared to trample over the heritage of rural Australia in it’s quest for green votes’, probably all true.  The ‘greenies’ are generally not even persuaded that cattle grazing keeps grass levels down , and so reduces fire hazards in those areas. Mind you I don’t for a moment consider that the graziers have that aspect as a high priority in their desire to use public lands for ‘cheap’ grazing of their stock, particularly in times of drought, etc.

But, it is an agument that has been around for a while, and seems to be a no real win argument for either side, although so far,  the conservationists who consider cattle grazing in public lands to be ‘ecological terrorism’  [talk about emotive blackmail!!], are probably never going to change their views on the subject. And apparently on their side, are such organisations as the Victorian National Parks Association [whom I used to work for] and  the Department of Sustainability and Environment, who consider that cattle grazing is not an effective means of fuel reduction, and that the disadvantages of allowing it, outweigh any benefits because of the trampling of ‘fragile ecosystems for no better reason than to provide a priviliged few some cheap summer agistment’. Probably a fair enough comment, however I do become annoyed at times at the level of undue influence that environmental and green groups constantly seem to force upon various parts of  working and cultural population of the State – their views can’t be argued with! That is the impression often generated.  Today’s editorial in the ‘Weekly Times’ partially comes to the same view – ‘Emotive views from both sides which could never see common ground’. Somewhere, a compromise is going to have to be reached. Interestingly, the issue really only affects a small number of graziers in the North East, Gippsland East and along parts of the Murray River, which forms part of the border between Victoria, and New South Wales.

Of course, where this led to a report of a dispute within the current government, arose out of apparent discrepancies in the views of National Party [with more rural interests] and the Liberal Party on just what their overall joint policy should be on the question of grazing on public lands, etc. Probably a headache that the new State government could have well done without!


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