By Mehroz Siraj
Federal Environmental Minister Tony Burke has threatened to use federal powers to prevent the Queensland state government and farmers from grazing animals at the state’s national parks, ABC Radio reported on May 15.
“What I want people to be in absolutely no doubt is about the strength of conviction on this issue and about the view of the Federal Government,” Minister Burke told ABC Radio.
The minister further informed that the government believed that publicly owned natural parks across Queensland and Australia were masterpieces of nature and shall only be used for recreational and tourism related purposes.
In 2012, the federal government had stepped in to stop animal grazing in northern Victoria, even when it became known that farmers had been adversely affected because of lack of food supplies for the animals in the state’s farms.
The Alpine Park comes under the operation of the Federal government.
According to Andrew Townsend of the Royal Society of Protection of Cruelty Against Animals (RSPCA), animal grazing was required as Queensland’s farmers were running out of fodder supplies.
Many of the farmers had a surplus livestock and were not being able to export their animals to Indonesia because of a federal government ban on live animal exports to that country, he said.
Allowing animal grazing at the state’s national parks was the most cost-effective way for keeping these animals alive, Townsend said.
According to the Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, the state government did not require permission from the federal government to go ahead with the grazing program.
The state’s national parks were owned by the Queensland government and had been used for animal grazing for over a hundred years now, he said.
“Minister Burke has reacted in a way that would indicate that he doesn’t have all the information,” Seeney told ABC Radio in a strong reply to the federal minister’s provocative remarks.
The Queensland Deputy Premier further informed that the relevant legislation that would make it easier for the state government to seek parliamentary approval allowing animal grazing on the farms had been prepared.
The legislation would be presented to the state parliament next week and was expected to be passed without any hassle, he said.