Beverley McArthur MP
Member for Western Victoria Region
DROVING IN THE MOYNE SHIRE
The Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur recently wrote letters to the CEO of VicRoads and the Barwon South West Regional Director of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), imploring them to take a more sensible approach when it comes to droving in Western Victoria Region.
Bev McArthur recently met with professional drover, John Wilson with a lifetime of droving experience throughout Australia. John has a permit from the Moyne Shire Council to drove cattle on their local roads. Mr Wilson and his wife Rhonda, are making a desperate effort to save the lives of a herd of starving beef cattle from drought stricken New South Wales. John told Bev that he had received terrific support from Moyne locals, farmers and the Shire, especially Councillors Meade and Smith for his efforts in reducing the ‘out of control’ roadside vegetation.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for two State Government departments.
In Mrs McArthur’s letters, she referred to the many benefits of droving: “ensuring better visibility for motorists; reducing fire risk, which was evident in the St Patrick’s Day fires where excessive roadside vegetation provided a wick burning out properties and killing thousands of livestock; offering a lifeline for valuable breeding stock from drought-stricken areas; and reducing the habitat for wildlife which end up as roadkill.”
In her letter to DELWP, Bev McArthur raised some of the issues which John Wilson has faced while droving in the Moyne Shire. The original Shire permit detailed particular roads on which droving could occur which was agreed to by the cattle owner and John. However, a new list of excluded roads was issued to John and the cattle owner by DELWP on Good Friday. These exclusions would severely limit their grazing ability on the roadsides.
Bev McArthur also questioned the necessity for DELWP officers to appear “threatening and intimidating,” equipped as they were with mace spray and body cameras when confronting Mr and Mrs Wilson. After all, John and Rhonda are actually providing an invaluable service to the Shire, local farmers and townspeople and the cattle.
In her letter to VicRoads, Bev McArthur expressed her concern over VicRoads’ direction to Mr Wilson that he would have to truck the cattle mere metres at great cost, across VicRoads to arrive at the next tranche of local roads, rather than allowing him to walk them across.
“This surely couldn’t be considered grazing. It’s just moving stock,” Bev McArthur stated.
Bev McArthur appreciated Mr Wilson’s decades of familiarity with the necessary road safety precautions and rules. She noted also that local farmers had expressed their willingness to assist John, if necessary with moving the cattle across the roads to expedite the operation.
Bev McArthur stated that “common sense should prevail and a more reasonable approach should be forthcoming.”
26 April 2019