Environment Victoria has welcomed the Napthine Government’s decision to reduce water licence fees for farmers who fence off their land to prevent stock from damaging rivers.
The decision was announced by Water Minister Peter Walsh yesterday and removes an important barrier to protecting river corridors
Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaigner Juliet Le Feuvre said today:
“This decision is a welcome first step in getting cows and other stock out of rivers. Giving farmers an extra incentive to fence off their land from adjoining public land on a river bank is a good move. It will help farmers to participate in Catchment Management Authority fencing programs and get cows off river banks and cow poo out of our rivers and drinking water supplies.
“Allowing stock to graze on the banks of rivers and creeks and letting them get into the water is a key cause of river degradation and a threat to water quality and human health.
“However it is a problem with a simple solution. Fencing off the river frontage, providing alternate water supply for stock and getting the animals out of the water gives the river corridor the chance to regenerate. Natural vegetation along the river bank creates real benefits for biodiversity, water quality, farmers and reduces water treatment costs.
“In Victoria farmers are allowed to graze stock on Crown land on river banks under grazing licences. These licences come up for renewal every 5 years and the next renewal is in October 2014.
“We’re hopeful that this important first step this week shows that the Napthine Government understands the damage riverside grazing can do to our rivers. The 2014 licence renewal offers the opportunity to modernise licence conditions so that public land on river banks is managed for conservation not cows.”
For further information or comment
Juliet Le Feuvre, Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaigner, 0428 770 019