Mountain cattleman Graeme Stoney (The Border Mail, June 9) makes the following arguments in favour of having brumbies in the high country: There are only a few of them so they only cause minimal impact; they are a “significant part of our heritage”; it’s “very exciting and rewarding” to see them; and several prominent writers have written about the brumbies.
The first of these claims is clearly wrong; the brumbies are damaging natural ecosystems. The ACT government has already started culling them because of the risk they pose to Canberra’s water supply, and both NSW and Victoria have extensively documented the damage brumbies are doing to the high country.
The next two claims appear to be based on the notion that because they might be of literary or cultural interest they are more important than the numerous other aspects of high country ecosystems that are being damaged by their presence. This peculiar preference for a species that doesn’t belong in our high country over native species that have lived there for countless centuries is absurd in that it appears to be arguing that white human history is more important than any other.
His fourth point is an objection to brumbies being called “feral horses” although doesn’t say why this is inappropriate given that they are running wild and they are horses. Finally he adds that “We are losing enough of our history and traditions to please minority groups as it is” which is a bit rich coming from a mountain cattleman, a minority group by anyone’s measure.
Graham Parton, Beechworth
Minister Jaala Pulford misrepresented the Victorian Farmers Federation during debate in Parliament on the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017. On multiple occasions, both Minister Natalie Hutchins and Minister Pulford have quoted VFF statements from 2015. They misrepresent the VFF policy position and current leadership.
In early 2017, the VFF made it clear we wanted action on problem labour hire firms but we would not support the proposed licensing bureaucracy. We wanted real action that would actually reduce worker exploitation. Despite numerous other groups being consulted and despite representing the industry this Bill is directed at, the VFF was not among those consulted.
Since December 13, 2017, when the Bill was introduced to the lower house, both ministers have refused to meet with the leadership of the VFF Horticulture Group. Their departments only contacted the VFF on February 6, while the Bill was being pushed through the lower house. This is not consultation. During the debate, Ms Pulford made many statements regarding the VFF position. At no point has she accurately represented the concerns our organisation has expressed regarding the Bill.
The VFF wants implementation of our holistic horticultural labour policy. The exploitation of vulnerable workers and the current labour crisis needs action, not bureaucratic lip service.
David Jochinke, president Victorian Farmers Federation
Vics are cashing in
I walk my dog past the Springdale Heights deposit/refund facility in the IGA car park every day and it’s interesting to see how many people with Victorian number plates are getting their refunds in NSW.