The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for the Environment
Approval of grazing trial in the Wonnangatta Valley
6 March 2014
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After rigorous assessment I have approved the Victorian Government's application to trial cattle grazing in the Wonnangatta Valley, subject to 33 strict conditions.
60 adult equivalent cattle will be allowed in the Wonnangatta Valley in the first limited trial period and up to 300 may be introduced in the two subsequent trial periods, subject to further approval.
The research trial is limited to 262 hectares of land within the boundaries of the former Wonnangatta Cattle Station. The site was a grazing property for well over 100 years.
Strict measures to contain the cattle have been imposed, including temporary electric fencing and a requirement that stock must be supervised by experienced cattlemen at all times.
The first trial is expected to begin shortly and run until the end of May.
The trial will compare the effectiveness and impacts of livestock grazing regimes.
After the first trial, the Victorian Government must undertake further surveys for threatened species and communities, and an assessment of Aboriginal cultural heritage and national heritage, for approval before any cattle can be introduced again.
The Government limited the time that cattle may be present in the Wonnangatta Valley from between 1 January to 31 May each year which is outside the flowering season of nationally protected species.
In making this decision I have taken into consideration public comments received.
This trial is significantly different to the plan considered by the previous Labor Government in 2011, which proposed a total of 39,738 hectares be utilised for alpine grazing.
Further information on the decision is available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?name=current_referral_detail&proposal_id=7069