Speech by Ellen Sandell on the National Parks Amendment (Prohibiting Cattle Grazing Bill) 2015
I am delighted to rise to support the National Parks Amendment (Prohibiting Cattle Grazing) Bill 2015. I am very pleased that this bill creates such strong protection against any future reintroduction of cattle to the high country. I commend the government for bringing the bill before the Parliament rather than leaving it in the hands of the responsible minister, because it brings an end to the practice of taking our precious alpine environment hostage for political purposes.
The vote to ban cattle from the high country is very long overdue. When legislation on this issue first came before the Victorian Parliament in 2005, we were already 40 years behind New South Wales. We have had four years of destructive policies from the former governments—not environmental policies but anti-environmental policies. The Baillieu and Napthine governments took us even further backwards. Those governments, backed up by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Minister Against the Environment, Greg Hunt, at the federal level have championed policies that have actively abused our natural environment, which is so vital for our biodiversity and our communities.
The fact is that although the previous government does not like to admit it, more than 60 years of
peer-reviewed scientific research has consistently shown that cattle have a profoundly destructive effect on alpine environments. Government members have outlined some of those studies. The so-called scientific trial the previous government instituted was simply a deliberate misuse of science as a critical tool for public policy. Coalition members should be ashamed of themselves for putting such misleading information out into the public domain. Their trial was simply cover for a politically motivated and environmentally
Ellen Sandell, State Member for Melbourne
15 April 2015