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National Parks Association slams grazing extension

Virginia Tapp, Wednesday October 16, 2013 - 11:29 EDT
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Grazier Barry Hughes from Georgetown in North Queensland is applying to be allowed to graze cattle in The Canyon National Park. - ABC

The Queensland Minister for National Parks is calling on graziers to submit requests to extend their grazing permits on selected national parks beyond December 31.

But the National Parks Association of Queensland says the cattle are threatening countless protected bird and animal species.

Earlier this week, national park rangers began making calls to around 26 graziers who currently have cattle on national park land.

They're trying to organise the removal of thousands of head of cattle from five national parks before December 31, but landholders say the continuing drought means they don't have anywhere to take the cattle.

They're asking to extend the grazing permits for three months, but minister Steve Dickson says this would require changes to the legislation which stipulate that graziers must remove cattle before the start of next year.

"The deadline is as it stands at this point in time. We don't know what's going to occur. There's no guarantee whether there will be a further drought or whether we're going to get rain.

"I would ask farmers that they put requests forward and send it through in writing and that way we can have a look at any propositions they wish to put forward, either to myself, or Mr McVeigh (Agriculture Minister)."

But the National Parks Association says cattle being allowed on park land has already done considerable damage to breeding habitat and waterways.

Executive co-ordinator Paul Donatui says it's now time to choose between the survival of cattle or protected plants and animals.

"Well, 83 percent of the state is actually being grazed by cattle or sheep. This drought has been coming for a long time.

"Yes, there were other conflicting factors, but it's really the landholders' responsibility to destock."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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