Media Releases | 18th Nov, 2014

Environment Victoria welcomes first step in getting cows out of our rivers

18 November 2014

Environment Victoria has welcomed the Napthine government announcement of an extra $20million for fencing livestock out of public land on river banks.

Environment Victoria Healthy Rivers Campaign Manager Juliet Le Feuvre said today:

“The Napthine Government’s commitment to spend an extra $20 million on getting livestock off our river banks and out of our rivers is a welcome increase and will accelerate the protection of riparian areas.

“Livestock grazing on river banks is the number one manageable impact on river health in Victoria and any acceleration in funding to improve the situation is welcome.

“However the extra money is a fraction of what is required to complete the job. With over 4500 tonnes of cow poo entering Victoria’s rivers and creeks every day, getting livestock off all public land on river banks is an urgent priority.”

“The extra money is about 10% of what’s required to get the public land on river banks fenced off. The next Victorian government will need to make a much greater investment to remove all the livestock but it will bring great benefits for water quality, wildlife, regional job creation and the farmers themselves. Importantly there is a ready source of available funding to fence off riverbanks in the Environmental Contribution Levy (ECL) which all Victorian water consumers pay for. We just need a clear commitment from the next Victorian Government that it will use the ECL to protect our freshwater ecosystems from livestock damage.

“The announcement shows the Coalition is capable of improving its environmental policy. After 4 years of attacks on the environment we need a new approach from the Coalition and this is a small but promising first step.

“The ball is now in Labor’s court to show us what they will do to improve the health of our rivers and how they will protect riverbanks from livestock damage.

“So far in the election campaign neither major party has outlined a convincing policy agenda for protecting and restoring nature or addressing climate change”.

To raise awareness of the damage livestock are doing to our rivers, Environment Victoria has been touring the State with a giant inflatable cow.

“We’ve had a great response from the public wherever we’ve been,” said Ms Le Feuvre. “This week we will be near the Fairfield Boathouse in Fairfield Park, Fairfield at 12 noon on Wednesday 19 November”

Juliet Le Feuvre is available for comment 0428 770 019

For more detail on what’s required to get livestock off all public land on river banks click here

To see ‘Promise Watch’- Environment Victoria’s analysis of all of the policy announcements of the major parties and implications for the environment click here.