A DENILIQUIN drover left stranded with 360-head of cattle in the south-west of Victoria has finally returned home.
John Wilson arrived in Victoria in mid-March after obtaining a permit from Moyne Shire Council for the cattle to graze on roadsides.
But while he was in the shire he was given a list of 25 roads that he was not allowed to venture onto by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
This meant he was landlocked, unable to move the cattle from Caramut to the next Moyne Shire road.
Geoff Allan, who owns the cattle, said he was flabbergasted by the situation he and Mr Wilson found themselves in.
"It's mind boggling," he said.
Mr Allan said he was presented with a map of where the cattle were allowed to graze before agreeing to truck them to Victoria and was never told there would be roads that were out of bounds.
He said he had been left out of pocket to the tune of about $50,000 to transport the cattle to and from the south-west.
"One of the stipulations of the permit was that we had to supply a water cart to allow the cattle access to fresh water," Mr Allan said.
He said that cost $35,000, while he also forked out $10,000 each way to transport the cattle on trucks.
Mr Allan said some of the suggestions offered to get the cattle from one shire road to another were ludicrous.
"At one point we were told 'someone has put in a firebreak and they (the cattle) could more or less go single file down the firebreak'," he said.
Mr Allan said on Monday VicRoads said it would allow Mr Wilson to use one of its roads to access the next shire road, but he said it was too, little too late.
"I hope Moyne Shire takes these people on, because it's the public's land, it's Australia's land."
Mr Allan said the cattle were now at his property at Bunnaloo near Deniliquin and would be back on the road soon again heading north.
He said despite the red tape Mr Wilson encountered, residents in the south-west were extremely supportive.
Moyne Shire councillor Daniel Meade said he was extremely disappointed by the "snail pace bureaucracy" which has resulted in Mr Wilson leaving the area.
"The shire have been waiting for a week to get VicRoads approval to cross an arterial road in order to get to further overgrown Moyne Shire roads," Councillor Meade said.
He said he would be putting forward a motion to the council urging the state government to fix their policies to allow droving, which would result in safer roads.
"This result shows how out of touch with reality these bureaucrats seem to be," Cr Meade said.
"Our positive intentions have been smothered by a complete lack of common sense."
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the length of time it takes to get a permit for stock to cross roads managed by VicRoads needs to be reviewed.
"The fact that it's bureaucracy that has driven those cattle back to those drought-stricken areas, I think is incredibly disturbing," Mr Tehan said.