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Grazing allowed in Qld national parks

Amy Phillips and Neroli Roocke, Wednesday May 15, 2013 - 15:15 EST
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Graziers in North Queensland have battled flood, fire and now are officially in drought after receiving a fraction of the usual rainfall this season - ABC

Drought and fire impacted property owners in Queensland will now be allowed to graze their cattle on some national parks and reserves.

Five national parks and eight reserves will be opened up as part of the state government's hardship assistance package.

The broadacre farm lobby group, AgForce, estimates the lives of 25,000 head of cattle in drought-affected western regions could be saved by the decision.

Chief executive officer, Charles Burke, said the short term access to well-grassed land will be managed and won't have any impact on the protection of the parks and reserves.

"We are only talking about a six month window here.

"It is a significantly increasing animal welfare issue so as far as we're concerned it is a common sense approach."

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says all of the land being opened up had been previously used for grazing and any environmentally sensitive areas will be fenced off.

Ineke McDowall from Mt Perryvale station near Einasleigh in north Queensland has been told 1000 of her cattle can graze on the Blackbraes resource reserve.

"It's our saving grace, we were burnt out at the beginning of October so we were given the thumbs up and offered this reprieve," she said.

"It will save our bacon basically and I really feel for the people who have not been given this privilege, because it is a privilege and we're not taking it lightly."

Green Senator Larissa Waters says the move is only a short-term solution to climate change.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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