On Friday, Victoria’s Baillieu government lost its appeal in the Federal Court to overturn a ban on cattle in the heritage-listed Alpine National Park.
Justice Susan Kenny’s decision amounted to a smackdown when she dismissed all four grounds for seeking a judicial review.
The state government (via Victorian taxpayers) may be liable for costs.
Four hundred cattle were re-introduced to the park in 2011 as part of the Victorian Government’s controversial six-year trial, ‘Investigation of fuel and bushfire risk management using strategic cattle grazing’.
Cattle were banned in the park in 2005 by the Bracks Labor government following a thorough report by the Alpine Grazing Taskforce. This followed the banning of cattle in other Alpine National Parks such as Kosciuszko National Park, Brindabella National Park, Namadgi National Park, Baw Baw National Park, Mount Buffalo National Park, Snowy River National Park and Avon Wilderness Park.
The re-introduction was seen as a sop to the Mountain Cattlemen of Victorian for delivering government to the Coalition when their campaign unseated Gippsland East’s Independent MP, Craig Ingram.
The ‘trial’ sparked outrage from environment organisations. The backlash intensified when the ‘trials’ showed extensive damage to the park but delivered little mitigation from bushfires that were generally carried by unpalatable shrubs. Continue reading