27th November 2006The Iemma-Costa Labor Government today ruled out giving graziers access to National Parks to feed their livestock, despite farmers struggling with the worst drought on record, NSW Leader of The Nationals, Andrew Stoner, said.
In Parliament today, The Nationals Member for Orange, Russell Turner, asked Environment Minister Bob Debus if he would allow graziers access to public land to feed their livestock given the severity of the drought.
“Mr Debus replied that he would not allow grazing in National Parks, saying it had never occurred in the past and that there was not a clear justification for doing so,” Mr Turner said.
“This is a ridiculous and arrogant response from the Iemma-Costa Labor Government.
“Grazing has in fact been allowed in National Parks before, and this is the worst drought in 100 years.
“More than 93 percent of NSW is now drought declared.”
Mr Stoner said feeding livestock was becoming harder and harder.
“The almost 6 million hectares of parks in NSW are a massive untapped resource that could help farmers save thousands of livestock,” Mr Stoner said.
“Stock in defined areas of National Parks can also benefit the environment by reducing the amount of bushfire fuel on the ground thereby minimising the severity of bushfires.
“Graziers are quickly exhausting their feed stockpiles, while nearby, large areas of public land remain unused.
“The Iemma-Costa Labor Government has again failed to support our farmers and drought affected communities.
“After 12 years of excuses – it’s time Labor did the right thing for drought-stricken graziers and showed some compassion.”