Queensland acting premier Jeff Seeney
Queensland acting premier Jeff Seeney

Graziers can now use national parks during droughts

DROUGHT-stricken graziers can now use national parks and other selected properties in north-western Queensland for emergency agistment.

Queensland acting premier Jeff Seeney said the worsening drought crisis meant immediate action was needed and his government would amend the Nature Conservation Act 1992 to allow emergency hardships access in five areas.

Three national parks west of mining town Moranbah and two west of Townsville - Moorrinya, Forest Den, Blackbraes, Nairana and Mazeppa - will offer temporary agistments until the end of 2013.

The Queensland Government also plans to temporarily re-open eight properties bought with the Commonwealth Government under the National Reserve System if it can gain federal approval.

Mr Seeney said this was one of several drought-relieving measures the LNP would put together in coming weeks and months to help those affected.

"As the dire animal welfare situation facing our graziers worsens, the Newman Government is providing a lifeline by allowing access for cattle to suitable state land," Mr Seeney said.

National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said the proposed changes would see emergency hardship grazing authorities issued over specific areas which were selected because of their previous grazing history and their proximity to suffering properties.

He said the buffel grass on the land, a foreign species, also meant carefully managed grazing could reduce fuel loads and lessen impacts on fire sensitive species.

"We won't stand by and watch while graziers are forced to destroy their own stock when we have land and feed available," Mr Dickson said.

"Queensland's graziers are the backbone of the nation's cattle industry and we are determined to protect their livelihoods as we work through this crisis together.

"Allowing graziers access to state-owned land will go some way to alleviating their current catastrophic situation."