Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Protection for Australian Alps from cattle grazing

Media release
21 October 2011

A new regulation under national environmental law will stop the Baillieu Government from reintroducing cattle to the Alpine National Park in Victoria without proper assessment of the potential for environmental damage.

Environment Minister Tony Burke today announced that the Gillard Government had introduced a new regulation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to protect the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.

It specifies that grazing of domestic stock including cattle would have a significant impact on the heritage values of the Australian Alps Heritage Area and that any future new grazing activities proposed in the Australian Alps Heritage Area, including the Alpine National Park, will need to be assessed under the EPBC Act.

It means the Gillard Government now has clear power to stop the Baillieu Government introducing cattle into the national heritage listed Alpine National Park without proper scrutiny.

"The Baillieu Government was wrong to reintroduce cattle to the Alpine National Park and has set a dangerous precedent for the management of national parks across Australia," Mr Burke said.

"The reintroduction of cattle to the Alpine National Park is the first time in generations anyone has tried to take backward steps in a National Park and I am opposed to it.

"The Baillieu Government has been deliberately downgrading protection in a national park.

"This gives them the opportunity to put a silly policy on the shelf as a reminder of what not to do.

"This whole debacle has been another reminder that when the Liberals win the environment loses."

The Alpine National Park is part of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves which are listed on the National Heritage list partly because of their rare alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems.

Mr Burke said he was also continuing to consult with state and territory governments on a proposed new regulation which would give extra protection to National Parks across Australia.

The Government is considering state and territory comments on the proposed regulation for additional protection and there will be some further consultation.