Cattle could once again be allowed to graze in the Alpine National Park, with both the Napthine and Abbott governments refusing to rule out another scientific trial.
A first attempt to investigate the effect of cattle on bushfires by the then Baillieu state government was thwarted in 2011 when the previous Labor federal government concluded it represented a “controlled action” under federal laws.
At the time, federal environment minister Tony Burke likened the trial to Japan’s “scientific” whaling program. But in the wake of the Coalition’s federal election win, rural MPs and the influential Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria are urging Premier Denis Napthine to consider a second attempt.
A pledge to trial the use of cattle in the park played a pivotal role in the 2010 state election.
The association urged supporters to back Nationals candidate Tim Bull in the seat of East Gippsland over former incumbent Craig Ingram, delivering the seat to the Coalition, which formed government by the narrowest of margins.
Mr Bull said the trial affected his electorate more than any other and was a pre-election commitment that “should be pursued”.
The association has also written to Environment Minister Ryan Smith, urging the government to reconsider the trial.
Chief executive Graeme Stoney said there were now “huge fuel loads”.
Both the Abbott government and the Napthine government are not ruling out the possibility of another trial.
A spokeswoman for Mr Smith said there had been “no new decisions”.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt is also giving little away.
His spokeswoman said there was no proposal before the federal government.