Park grazing end will deepen drought: AgForce

Beef Central, 29/10/2013

Peak Queensland broadacre farming group AgForce has expressed disappointment at the Newman Government’s decision not to extend grazing permits in national parks beyond 31 December 2013, fearing it will further deepen the impact of the State’s ongoing drought.

On Tuesday National Parks Minister Steve Dickson announced the six month temporary agistment permits allowing access to five national parks in North-West Queensland would not be renewed as AgForce has requested.

The emergency support initiative, a concept of AgForce Queensland and supported by animal welfare groups such as RSPCA and Animals Australia, provided relief to graziers from ‘the perfect storm’ of drought, poor markets and bush fires through the issuing of grazing permits over selected National Parks and National Reserve System (NRS) properties.

AgForce Queensland General President, Ian Burnett, said the permits provided much needed temporary assistance to graziers struggling under the burden of severe climatic and economic conditions.

“The permits have been a lifeline for some of Queensland’s most drought-affected primary producers, allowing them to retain small numbers of their core breeding herd away from their drought – stricken properties,” Mr Burnett said.

"Importantly, the select national parks, which have until recently operated as cattle properties, were specifically chosen for their infrastructure which meant grazing was compatible with ecological conversation.”

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting drier than average conditions for most of northern Australia from November to January, with the greater portion of the region predicted to incur a 60 – 70 per cent chance of below average rainfall this wet season.

“Graziers will now have to face the grim prospect of returning their cattle home to bare pastures and trying to seek supplement feed which is in extremely short supply,” Mr Burnett said.

“Additionally, we are hearing reports that the stock route system is already full and the 13 permit holders have no choice but to seek an extension from the Government.”

AgForce is of the firm opinion a short extension to these permits is a commonsense and responsible approach to provide graziers with sufficient time to remove stock from National Parks following what is now predicted to be a late wet season.

AgForce has contacted the Minister’s office to discuss what options are available to the affected permit holders.

At the time of writing AgForce said it understood that holders of permits the NRS properties are not affected by Tuesday's announcement.

Source: AgForce



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