Environment Minister Tony Burke
Environment Minister Tony Burke

Failure to help farmers not a reason to use parks: Burke

AS 25,000 head of cattle struggle to survive, the Queensland and Commonwealth governments are at logger-heads over who really cares for their welfare.

Queensland opened up five national parks in Queensland's central west and north west regions for graziers with livestock suffering from the worsening drought.

A further eight grazing properties bought by the Federal Government would also be opened up if the state could secure federal approval.

But Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has refused to give his blessing to the plan, saying national parks needed to be protected, not to be used as needed by Queensland when the State Government had failed to help its farmers.

He said the state was yet to even make a case for the plan to the Commonwealth and was yet to approve $60 million in low-interest loans for the industry to help those worst hit by the drought.

"We expect the Queensland Government to not abrogate the deeds that have been signed with the Commonwealth," Mr Burke said.

On Thursday afternoon, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said Mr Burke "needed to check his email and letterbox" for the proposal that was mailed and e-mailed on Tuesday.

National Parks Minister Steve Dickson told APN that with or without Federal permission, the state would do whatever was needed to stop these cattle facing starvation or the gun barrel.

There was a need, he said, to open up the 440,000ha of land to help those 25,000 on the verge of death.

"We have come up with a logical and sensible solution that is of no cost to the government or farmers," he said.

"And we have a grass called baffle grass, which is a pest, that needs to be eaten or eradicated.

"We have two options. We let (the cattle) die in a paddock or we save those lives."

When asked if the state would act even if it meant legal retribution from the commonwealth, Mr Dickson said the plan was "to do whatever it takes to allow the cattle to graze and save their lives".

In January 2012, the Federal Government intervened to ban the Victorian Government from allowing cattle into the Alpine National Park.

Do you think it is a good idea to allow cattle to graze in national parks?

This poll ended on 23 May 2013.

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This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.