Government approves Wonnangatta grazing
Sixty head of cattle will be on valley floor within a fortnight for a three year trial
CATTLE will return to graz- ing in the Alpine National Park with the approval of some 60 head to be on the floor of the Wonnangatta Valley within a fortnight.
This follows the Victorian Government giving a green light to a grazing trial that will run over the next three years.
The trial was approved by the Federal Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt, last Thursday – paving the way for potentially up to 300 head to be used in the scientific grazing study which covers some 240ha (approximately).
However, Mr Hunt has placed strict rules around the grazing trial – including constant supervision, limitations on dog and horse numbers and the effective use of electric fencing to accurately compare areas that have been grazed against those areas that are not.
According to Mr Hunt, the trial “will compare the effectiveness and impacts of live- stock grazing regimes”.
Merrijig’s president of the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV), Charlie Lovick, one of four local families personally taking cattle into Wonnangatta, said the decision would prove the cattlemen’s mantra of ‘Alpine grazing reduces blazing’.
“We are prepared to be judged, not by what we say, but what we do,” Mr Lovick said.
“The Wonnangatta has been grazed and managed by cattlemen for 118 of the past 144 years and is a centrepiece in our heritage.
“We left it in very good condition, but in the 26 years since we were removed, the Wonnangatta Valley, like many other parts of the High Country, has degenerated into a scrubby and pest infested state.”
Local cattle grazing families who will participate in the trial, include Mr Lovick, Bruce Mc- Cormack, Graham Stoney and John Lovick – all of whom will be droving the cattle together into Wonnangatta on horseback.
MCAV congratulated the Victorian Government for its “courage and foresight in broadening the debate as to how the High Country is managed into the future” - a view complimented further by Mr Lovick.
“The unattended build up of fuel loads in and around the valley have created a fire hazard that threatens visitors, neighbors, landscape, habitat and native fauna and flora,” Mr Lovick said.
“Conservation, as it has been practised … is failing.”
The news has also been welcomed by Victorian Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie.
“Many Australians view sustainably managed cattle grazing on the high plains as an important tradition and recognise it as a legitimate use of the Alpine area,” Senator McKenzie said.
“There are many people who live in Victoria’s Alpine areas and right across the nation, who value mountain cattlemen and women as pioneers, as guides, as contributors to fire suppression activities, as skilled land managers and environmental stewards.
“Caring for and using our natural resources do not have to be mutually exclusive concepts.”
FAMILY TRADITION: Three generations of the Lovick family are celebrating the Federal Government’s decision to conduct a three year grazing trial in the Wonnangatta Valley - a return to their heritage. Pictured is MCAV president Charlie Lovick with...