Beverley McArthur MP

Member for Western Victoria Region

Media Statement




I was horrified to read in the Warrnambool Standard 3 May 2019 that drover, John Wilson is still marooned on a small area of Moyne Shire land outside of Caramut, unable to continue saving the lives of his NSW drought stricken cattle. I visited him there two weeks ago and knew the situation was desperate then which is why I wrote to the departmental heads. Needless to say, I have received no response so will now take it up with the respective Ministers.

What have we reduced ourselves to where departmental bureaucrats are so totally unreasonable and uncaring?

Roadside vegetation in many areas in Western Victoria is ‘out of control’.  In many locations it is not only a fire hazard but a danger to motorists and the native animals  breeding in these ‘wildlife corridors’ which are subject to frequent ‘road kill’.

Landholders and farmers, the Moyne Shire and the vast majority of the public clearly want roadsides grazed. The introduced grass species, like philaris are doing more to suffocate precious native vegetation than John Wilson’s cattle ever will.

These DELWP departmental officers introduced new roads subject to restriction on Good Friday, long after the Moyne Shire permit was originally issued. How can they suddenly find new endangered species when it suits them?

As for VicRoads and their approach. Demanding stock be trucked metres in order to reach another local road is bureaucracy on steroids of the highest order. Whatever happened to common sense, mutual co-operation and concern to save threatened livestock?  Or is it the case, as reported to me, that some bureaucrats would rather the stock ‘were returned to NSW and destroyed’?

What has happened to John Wilson and the NSW owner of the cattle is simply unacceptable. We, the elected representatives, the municipalities, local farmers and townspeople alike and the general public should be encouraging better management of our roadsides and grazing and droving is an obvious cost-benefit solution for everyone. It is certainly the case that Councils, through their ratepayers do not have the resources to fund the level of maintenance that droving affords and the taxpayers of Victoria clearly are not being well served by VicRoads lack of management of their roadsides.

I call on all Parties to come to their senses and sort this out so John Wilson and other drovers can provide the obvious solution to our out of control vegetation while saving the lives of valuable breeding stock.

5 May 2019

Contact Bev McArthur MP 0418 593 169