Irrational, irresponsible and untrue claims about Queensland national parks have been labelled scaremongering by Acting National Parks Minister Tim Mander.
Mr Mander said comments made by academics to The Australian newspaper were false, alarmist and showed a malicious misinterpretation of the way emergency cattle grazing initiatives work.
“It’s simply not true to say that graziers will be able to use a national park for grazing whenever a drought strikes,” Mr Mander said.
“The emergency grazing measures put in place by the Newman Government are only until December 31, 2013, and only permitted in five national parks, in direct response to the severe drought crisis that has enveloped more than half of Queensland.
“This common-sense response to the emerging animal welfare crisis was backed by the RSPCA, and Animals Australia.
“Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is clearing at Moorrinya National Park only for the reestablishment of park boundary fences and firebreaks, while temporary stock exclusion fences and watering points have been erected by individual graziers.”
Mr Mander said less than 50,000 hectares of national park land was made available to respond to the emergency – about 0.4 per cent of Queensland’s 12.5 million hectares of national park estate.
“I note the absence of criticism from these academics when the former Labor Government had just 17 per cent management plans for protected areas in Queensland,” he said.
“The detrimental effect this has had, with locked up parks overrun by pests and weeds is staggering.
“In stark contrast, this Government will not only allow more people to experience our wonderful national parks, but also generate the resources to manage and support them.
“The Newman Government is embracing low-impact eco-tourism initiatives, to help boost revenue that can be put back into park management and conservation.
“Such initiatives have been welcomed by the Queensland Trust for Nature, Outback Queensland Tourism Association and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, for its funding and employment opportunities as well as the chance to offer a good outcome for conservation and the community.”
“But let me make this very clear, there will be no recreational hunting, no logging, no mining in Queensland’s National Parks.
“The Newman Government is firmly committed to ensuring our National Parks are open for Queenslanders to enjoy and protected for future generations.”
Acting Minister for National Parks,
Recreation, Sport and Racing
The Honourable Tim Mander
Friday 30th of August 2013