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Calls to extend cattle grazing in national parks

Virginia Tapp, Monday October 14, 2013 - 17:07 EDT
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Grazier Barry Hughes from Georgetown in North Queensland has been allowed to graze cattle in The Canyon National Park until December 31st, 2013. - ABC

Drought-affected graziers in Queensland have requested a three-month extension to a national park access agreement to keep their cattle alive.

A deal to allow graziers to use the pastures in national parks was struck between the Queensland Department of Agriculture and the Federal Department of National Parks in June, on the condition the cattle would be removed from the reserves by December 31.

However with still no substantial rain falling, those using the national parks are becoming more concerned over what to do with their cattle in the new year.

Grazier, John Gilmore, has had about 500 head of breeder cattle in the Moorrinya National Park, 400 kilometres west of Townsville, for four months.

He says he's been investing a lot of time and money in carting water to the National Park to keep them there.

Mr Gilmore says the access agreement has kept his cattle alive but if it doesn't rain before December he'll struggle to keep the stock.

"[They've] got nowhere to go and you can't sell them now, they're too poor.

"I sold all I could sell, shifted all I could shift and there's no agistment so we're stuck at the moment," he said.

Queensland member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter, is lobbying the State Government to grant the extension to graziers.

He says allowing cattle to graze in national parks has been a successful, low-cost way to mitigate some of the effects of drought.

"There's been about 40 graziers that all agree that they've been saved and a lot of their cattle have been saved from perishing.

"I'd hate to think what would have happened if we didn't have access to those parks," he said.

"Drastic times call for drastic measures and three more months is not a great leap."

The ABC has contacted the Queensland Minister for National Parks, Steve Dickson, for comment.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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