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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6716


Ms BURKE (Chisholm) (13:43): Prime Minister Tony Abbott said:

… we all want to do the right thing, by our planet.

I regard myself as a conservationist.

If he is such a great conservationist, how can he allow alpine grazing and cattle grazing back into a national park? How can he turn a national park into a paddock? If this is a government that is built on conservationist issues, how can it allow this absurdity to happen? But it has. On 6 March 2014 the so-called federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, approved the Victorian government's application for a new cattle grazing trial in the Wonnangatta Valley, part of the National Heritage listed Alpine National Park. It is a National Heritage alpine park; it is not a paddock. Why are we allowing these cattle back into this environment? It is just destroying this environment.

There is no so-called scientific evidence to this trial. It is a complete farce. The bushfire royal commission did not ask for it, there is no peer reviewed scientific evidence for it, the site contains rare native vegetation, there has been no pre-trial fauna survey and there has been no consideration of locations outside the national park, which do exist, for the three families—literally—who benefit from this trial. The application ignores the considerable scientific evidence which says that this will destroy the natural flora and fauna in this park.

National parks are for conservation, not for cattle grazing, and this is an outrage.