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New president takes the reins of the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association

Mountain Cattlemen Cass McCormack was elected as president of the Mountain Cattlemen's Association of Victoria (MCAV).

Cass has hit the floor running, already coming out in support of the native timber industry – who have been ordered to cease harvesting after a Supreme Court ruling.

"My first message as president is to urge people from regional Victoria to stand up in support of those who continue to be devastated by developments hampering the timber industry," she said.

VicForests ordered the stand–down late last month after Justice Melinda Richards ruled the pre–harvest surveys were inadequate.

Injunctions imposed on harvesting last December had already locked contractors out of many coupes, with hundreds of jobs on the line.

''Timber harvesting as conducted in Victoria is fully sustainable while supplying vital resources for the needs of Victorians," Ms McCormack said.

"Sustainable public land management has always been the cornerstone of MCAV policy, and this will not change – this includes timber harvesting."

Cass has had to dip her newly minted president's boots into political waters early in her role but is focused on making a positive change both within her organisation and farther afield.

"The management of the High Country has been heading in the wrong direction for years and the Mountain Cattlemen's knowledge should be utilised to change direction before this opportunity is lost," she said.

"Right now, the bush is green and lush, and most aren't considering the bushfire danger this will create as the weather dries.

"As president, one of my goals is to continue to work on advocating that alpine grazing reduces blazing, and to offer alternative methods of public land management."

Cass succeeds her father, Bruce McCormack, who did not stand for re–election after being in the role for three years.

"Like many organisations, the MCAV needs to keep pace with the times," Mr McCormack said.

"I have been incredibly grateful to be able to represent the High Country as MCAV president, but thought it was time to let the next generation step up."

Cass has been part of the MCAV Board of Management for four years and most recently coordinated the group's annual Get Together event.

She is part of the McCormack family of Merrijig, who have been running cattle into the King Valley for summer grazing for more than 150 years.

"As president, I have a long list of goals I want to achieve, some more likely than others," Cass said.

"I intend to continue raising management issues, which includes the strategic use of Alpine grazing, at both a State and Federal level on behalf of the MCAV.

"I will advocate for a louder voice in the education system at all ages, encouraging the Government to put forward alternative methods of land management."

 

Other goals for the new president include:

• Increased advocacy for public land users;

• Increased support of other alternative management groups such as the Howitt Society;

• Establishment of an MCAV next generation leadership program;

• Additional documentation of historical trials and scientific experiments conducted in the High Country;

• Support for construction of a High Country Hall of Fame;

• Return of Alpine grazing licenses.

Also on the committee are Ben Treasure (vice president), Ken Heywood (secretary), Cameron Rash (treasurer), Bruce McCormack (past president), and general committee members Rose Faithfull, Chris Hidge, Dave Stoney, Chris Commins, Simon Turner, Tania Coleman, Lyric Anderson and Philip Ryder.

 

Background:

The MCAV was formed in reaction to the increase in the late 1950s of conservation and political group pressure aimed at removing cattle began to grow.

The cattlemen's struggle led to an agreement brokered on the floor of State Parliament in 1989 to create an Alpine National Park.

In return the cattlemen were granted in legislation, seven year renewable licenses to graze some sections of the new Park.

Such legislation had never happened before.

In 2005 the Labor Government broke that agreement and cancelled all grazing in the Alpine National Park.

That led to a drop in MCAV grazing membership which means the intimate knowledge of the land, the culture and living Australian heritage of the Mountain Cattlemen is in grave danger of being lost to Australia forever.

The MCAV is working to preserve that knowledge and heritage.

It also has a firm policy to have cattle grazing reinstated as a proven management tool to reduce fuel loads.

It points out that that Alpine grazing should be returned to suitable areas of the High Country while there are still cattlemen around who can explain to the next generation how to do it.

 

Taken from WangarattaChronicle 14 December 2022 Media Release

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