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LNP Government: giveth with one hand and taketh with the other

Grazier challenges national park grazing deadline

ABC Rural
By Virginia Tapp and Cairns News

Brown Family, Bogunda StationPhoto: Queensland graziers say access to national parks has been vital for the survival of their stock. (Miriam Hall)

Audio: Rob Katter, Mount Isa MP (ABC Rural)

Audio: John Gilmore, grazier, Torrens Creek (ABC Rural)

A north-west Queensland grazier has decided to challenge the State Government’s refusal to extend national park grazing permits beyond 2013.

He has the political support of a local MP, who will appeal to the Queensland Premier to overrule yesterday’s decision by the Department of National Parks.

John Gilmore, of Cranford Station, near Torrens Creek, has had 500 head of cattle on the Moorrinya National Park in North Queensland since June and says the animals will die if he is forced to move them off by the end of the year.

In April this year, the Queensland Government opened up five national parks to give drought-affected graziers access to grass. The deal was that the cattle would have to be out by December 31.

However, drought conditions have prevailed, and with little rain forecast for summer, graziers wrote to the government asking for a three-month extension.

Yesterday, the government officially denied the request, saying the deadline still stands.

Mr Gilmore is devastated by the decision and won’t take no for an answer.

“Well, I can’t move them until it rains, simple as that, there’s nowhere to go.

“You can’t shift cattle at this time of the year onto strange country if it’s not green country. You’ll kill them.

“We’re not going to throw the towel in yet, I wouldn’t think, but it’s just got to rain, otherwise we can’t go anywhere. So we’ll see what happens.”

The Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter has also come out swinging.

He’ll be backing graziers like John Gilmore, and will ask the Queensland Premier to intervene.

“There’s no second option, there’s no contingency here. They either leave them on there for another month or two, just to keep these cattle alive until some rain comes, or those cattle will perish or be shot.

“We’ll be calling on the Premier to step in on this decision, because the minister has already made his decision, so we need the Premier to see the dire situation that exists.”

Meanwhile the Brisbane-based National Parks Association has come out praising the government for sticking to its guns, having the cattle removed from parks by the end of the year.

The Parks Association for 30 years has agitated for more national parks claiming 10 per cent of the state should be placed in mothballs.

This group of mostly retired, ‘closet greenies,’ outside of the South East corner, has no understanding of nature and how it works in this diversified state.

The former ALP government in its maddening haste to pacify the Greens and their loopy mob of followers, either purchased or resumed dozens of once viable cattle and sheep properties, detocked their vast paddocks and locked them up naively thinking these huge swathes of grazing land would somehow remain the same as the day they were taken out of production.

Most of these former stations have little or no conversation value, in particular the properties on which grazing has recently been allowed.

The National Park inventory should be closely scrutinised by graziers and a select body of naturalists, inspected, then any areas of high conservation value could be fenced off, returning the balance to regulated grazing.

This strategy would remove the chronic need for trained staff to manage these properties.

Fire damage would be mitigated, feral animal and noxious weed control would be undertaken by the leasees and overall this plan would save the government many millions of dollars.

Can we expect a LNP government to do this? Not on your nelly, Based on their present track record of allowing disease-ridden flying foxes to kill our kids and infest our towns, it would be a long shot.-editor