February 13, 2012
Labor Governments have been accused of having an inconsistent policy in relation to cattle grazing by Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
Speaking in Federal Parliament, Mr Chester said a decision by the ACT Labor Government to allow cattle grazing on public land to reduce fuel during bushfire season smacked of hypocrisy.
Federal Labor Environment Minister Tony Burke recently week banned the Victorian Coalition Government from grazing cattle in the high country as part of bushfire fuel reduction research.
A media release issued by the ACT Labor government on October 25, 2011 quotes Manager of the Fire Management Unit, Neil Cooper, as saying:
“Grazing is a crucial, if oft forgotten, component of the ACT‘s hazard reduction program.
“Strategic grazing serves to not only remove bushfire fuel, but it also ensures the remaining fuels are compacted.
“This year we intend to graze more than 7000 hectares across 76 separate sites.”
Mr Chester has criticised the Labor Party for its inconsistency.
“It is okay for the Labor Party to use cattle to protect homes in Canberra but not to help save lives, properties and the environment in the Victorian High Country,” Mr Chester told Parliament.
Mr Chester said it was no surprise that the Federal Minister decided to ban cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park despite the fact the Victorian government won a clear mandate at the last state election to introduce its trial.
“He has repeatedly admitted his bias against the cattlemen, and he is so blinded by his prejudice against their cause and by his devotion to the Greens that he has never given them the chance to meet with him and present their case,” Mr Chester said.
“There is not one Cabinet Minister who actually lives in regional Australia. For this Labor Government at the very highest level, regional Australia is a place that you visit sometimes—maybe for a holiday but more likely just for a photo opportunity.
“What hope do people at the Mountain Cattlemens Association of Victoria have when none of the Cabinet Ministers have an appreciation of regional life?
“Labor might pretend to be in government, but we all know that it is the Greens that are in charge.
“I call on the Minister to simply admit that his decision to ban grazing in the Alpine National Park was all about pleasing the Greens.”