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NPAACT Home > News Items > Cattle grazing ban

Cattle grazing ban

09-January-2006

A GROUP of Victorian mountain cattlemen, including an upper house Liberal MP, droving a mob of cattle through the state's alpine national park, have defied rangers' orders to turn back.

The cattlemen, including MP Graeme Stoney, are protesting the State Government's ban on grazing cattle in the park.

Doug Treasure, President of Mountain Cattlemen's Association of Victoria, who is riding with a separate group of protesters, today confirmed the first group had been intercepted yesterday.

Speaking by satellite phone near Wonnangatta Station in the alpine park, Mr Treasure said the first group had ignored a request to turn their cattle around and leave the park.

Riders in the first group were interviewed by a park ranger and had their names taken down, he said.

Three groups of rebel mountain cattlemen are following traditional but now forbidden stock routes through the park and plan to converge at the Wonnangatta Station cemetery tomorrow.

The alpine park's chief ranger Peter Jacobs said the authorities had been aware the cattlemen had planned to push cattle illegally through the park.

"One of our ranger patrols did meet some people with cattle yesterday afternoon near the Wonnangatta Valley," he said.

The group was warned their action was in breach of regulations and if they continued they risked being fined.

The maximum fine for bringing an animal into the park without permission was just over $1000, he said.

The park authorities would consider evidence from yesterday's incident before deciding whether to lay charges against the group, Mr Jacobs said.

This year's summer muster is the first test of the State Government's controversial ban on grazing cattle in the national park in what it says is a bid to protect the fragile alpine environment.

The Government is providing up to $100,000 over three years to individual licence holders to shift their cattle back into nearby state forest areas.

The cattlemen say the ban will end a 170-year-old high country tradition and want to preserve the right to drive cattle though the park at least once a year.

 

 

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