Local cattlemen join Melbourne rally

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Concerned cattlemen pounded the pavement in Melbourne on Tuesday, August 20 as part of the Bush User Groups United supporters' rally. 

Frustrated by the Victorian Government's impending native park restrictions, the Barmah Forest Cattlemen’s Association organised a bus to join thousands from across the country who shared their disapproval. 

Barmah Forest Cattlemen’s Association president John Patterson said a number of members made the trip with their horses.

They made their way from Treasury Gardens to the steps of Parliament House and Mr Patterson said the rally was well received. 

"This affects anyone that uses the bush in any way," he said.

"It was good to be able to let more people know that their rights will be taken away.

"All it's doing is going to restrict people's access to the bush. What's the point of having it if people can't go out and enjoy it?"

The protest was first established in response to the impending Victorian Environmental Assessment Council report, which stands to restrict bush usage in various ways. 

Mr Patterson said use of Barmah Forest was part of his group's heritage and an important asset for the community. 

He said the annual Barmah Muster allowed the organisation to raise much-needed funds for local charity groups. 

"They want to restrict our land use and we aren't happy about it," Mr Patterson said. 

“There are more restrictions being put on us and we’re not free to do what we’ve done in the past.”

Mr Patterson said he was delighted to see the rally raise more public awareness on the issue and he hoped Parks Victoria would pay more attention to the mismanagement currently going on in national parks across the state.