The Victorian Government’s so called ‘scientific trial’ of cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park could set a precedent that would open the gate for cattle grazing and other damaging activities in National Parks around the country, environment and heritage groups have warned.
“Unless the Federal Government takes action to enforce national environment and heritage laws, other states and lobby groups could see this as a green light to try their own hare-brained schemes in some of our most precious natural areas.”
“What will we see next? Scientific logging in the Daintree? Scientific Grazing on Kosciuszko? Scientific oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef?” asked Matt Ruchel, Executive Director of the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA).
Fourteen leading environment and heritage groups have released a statement calling on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to use his powers under federal environment laws to intervene and halt the trial.
“Allowing cattle grazing in national parks is against the globally accepted purpose of national parks – to conserve nature and heritage”, said Cam Walker, National Campaign Coordinator for Friends of Earth (FoE).
“This is a test of the integrity of our national environment laws, and whether the current government has the backbone to enforce them,” he added.
“Cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park has already been shown to have a significant impact on endangered alpine wetlands, sphagnum bogs and fens, and species like the Alpine Tree Frog that are protected under federal environment laws,” said Phil Ingamells, VNPA’s parks protection spokesperson.
Organised by the Victorian National Parks Association, the statement is signed by the Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF Australia, the National Trust, The Wilderness Society, Birds Australia, Bird Observation and Conservation Australia, Friends of the Earth, Humane Society International, Invasive Species Council, National Parks Australia Council, Environment Victoria, National Parks Association of NSW and the National Parks Association of ACT.