In perhaps the final act of the long running alpine grazing saga, the Victorian government has introduced legislation into Parliament banning grazing in the Alpine National Park, as well as in the River Red Gum national parks.

The introduction of the National Parks Amendment (Prohibiting Cattle Grazing) Bill 2015 will amend the National Parks Act 1975 to prohibit cattle grazing for any purpose in these national parks.

The government said:

This legislation comes 10 years after the Bracks Labor Government passed legislation to end cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park.

The Labor Government acted quickly to close down the cattle grazing trial in the Alpine National Park, which was introduced in 2014 by the previous Coalition Government under the guise of a three-year trial investigating the role of grazing in mitigating fire risk.

Extensive scientific research has shown that grazing in Victoria’s alpine areas is detrimental to the environment and doesn’t have any value in reducing bushfire risk or fuel loads in alpine areas.

The Labor Government will ensure a range of bushfire mitigation measures continue, including planned burns and other fuel management methods.

The Minister for Environment, Lisa Neville, said

“Our national parks are for people to enjoy, not cows to destroy. The science is clear, cattle doesn’t reduce bushfire risk in alpine areas, and they damage the alpine environment.”

The government should be commended for acting to end the grazing trial in the Wonnangatta Valley, which had been widely criticised by the scientific community.

The legislation still needs to pass through the Upper House, which should happen in May. Graziers will still be able to move cattle through the Alpine Park to other grazing leases, and some grazing continues on public land in the high country. But this puts an end to the long running saga of grazing in the Alpine Park.