Thwaites leg-up to Barmah cattlemen on World Environment Day

June 5, 2006

Barmah Forest will continue to be trashed by cattle for at least the next 3 years after Minister Thwaites said today he would suppress a new grazing policy his department planned to release in June last year.

“This is a leg-up for the grazing industry on World Environment Day when Minister Thwaites should be thinking about the health of the Murray River” said Jonathan La Nauze for Friends of the Earth Melbourne.

“Grazing in Barmah threatens numerous threatened species such as the Superb Parrot, and pollutes the same Murray River Minister Thwaites is so keen on saving,” said Mr La Nauze

“Thwaites’ own department has told him that grazing destroys riparian vegetation and compromises the benefits of environmental flows, and yet he is now suppressing a policy which would have seen grazing moved out of the most important inland wetlands of the Murray River,”

Last year the biggest environmental flood of the Barmah forest was polluted and Barmah forest damaged when grazing cattle trashed important areas of the forest (photos can be seen at: http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/ ).

State and Commonwealth governments have committed $1billion to restoring environmental flows to the River Murray.

The River Red Gum Forest Ecological Grazing Strategy was supposed to be released last year and has been ready for release since at least October. It relates to Grazing Management in Red Gum Forests including the Barmah, Gunbower and Nyah forests in Northern Victoria.

COMMENT and further information

Jonathan La Nauze
0402 904 251
(03) 9419 8700
jonathan.lanauze@foe.org.au

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