Member for Hill Shane Knuth welcomed recent news of the new Northern National Parks regional director Matt Brien giving a commitment to improving cattle management and working with graziers to avoid shooting cattle in National Parks.
Mr Knuth also said the appointment of former Cloncurry stock inspector and buffalo farmer Cameron Jackson to a new senior ranger position, was a good move.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but unless Matt and Cameron have complete autonomy, then their biggest hurdle will be dealing with the bureaucracy from Brisbane based department officials,” Mr Knuth said.
Mr Knuth has been highly critical and vocal on slaughtering cattle in national parks, which he said was wasting a highly valuable resource.
“I have highlighted this issue to the media and directly to the Minister and department on several occasions, both on the floor of parliament and private meetings,” he said.
“There is absolutely no way you can stop movement of cattle onto National Parks.
“You cannot fence thousands of kilometres of parks, as any fencing simply gets knocked over during the wet season, so you have to have a strong relationship with landowners and TO’s to ensure there is ample opportunity to muster cattle.”
Mr Knuth said this has not been the case in the past with Cape York landowners fearful of talking out about the issue in fear of reprisals against them by the department.
“Once I heard about it, I couldn’t believe it was happening,” he said.
“Here was a government pushing changes to animal welfare legislation, while at the same time unnecessarily slaughtering cattle that they don’t own, on national parks costing landowners millions in lost revenue over a number of years.”
Mr Knuth said poor consultation with landowners, inadequate notice and lengthy approval times to secure permits for access to parks to retrieve cattle has been extremely frustrating for landowners.
“Mr Jacksons commitment to streamline the permit application process to remove cattle from national parks, would be welcomed by landowners,” he said.
“I am hopeful that this will finally lead to a better working and more transparent system, which is all I and landowners have been asking for.
“I congratulate Matt and Cameron’s open admissions to landowners at the recent Cape York NRM grazing forum and look forward to a more successful approach in dealing with this issue.”