Graziers query choice of national parks opened for cattle

GRAZIERS and conservationists alike are at a loss to understand the logic behind the State Government's drive to allow cattle grazing in some central Queensland national parks.

While no one disputes the need to find feed for an estimated 300,000 cattle at risk of starvation in drought-declared western Queensland, it's the location of the selected national parks that has raised eyebrows.

John Burnett owns Frankfield, a property adjoining Mazeppa National Park on the Gregory Developmental Rd, north of Clermont.

While he supported allowing cattle to graze in the park, he was at a loss as to why Mazeppa was one of five parks selected, given the area was not drought-declared.

He also said Mazeppa was a strange choice because there was no water for cattle to access. "If they graze national parks it reduces the fire load," he said. "In times of drought the fire risk increases because the vegetation that's in that park will die.

"(But) if they're going to graze with cattle from further west the government would have to provide water for it to work."

Yesterday, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney announced the State Government would proceed with the proposal, despite Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke moving to prevent it.

A spokeswoman for State Environment Minister Steve Dickson said the parks had been selected based on their proximity to drought-affected areas, and only graziers from drought-declared and fire-affected properties further west would be given access. "Everyone who wants to do it needs to apply and strict assessments need to be made," she said.

But Mackay Conservation Group said the scheme was "political wedging".

"The State Government is trying to make Mr Burke look like the bad guy for not allowing starving cattle into national parks," co-ordinator Patricia Julien said.

"Less than 2% of central Queensland has national parks so the total area is very small. It's no solution for the thousands of cattle that are starving."

Do you think it is a good idea to allow cattle to graze in national parks?

This poll ended on 23 May 2013.

Current Results

Yes

48%

No

51%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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