Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Parker allows cattle into National Parks

“A former National Party MLC, Mr Richard Bull, will be an independent facilitator for trial grazing in river red gum national parks Minister Robyn Parker announced today.  The announcement comes hot on the heels of last week’s announcement of horse riding trials in five wilderness areas”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

Minister Parker said she “wanted to improve the contribution parks and reserves make to rural and regional areas” (media release 13/11/12).  “You can’t do that by stock grazing in them, you’ll create Claytons national parks instead,” he said.

“The Colong Foundation will be appealing to the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to see if he can rescue the situation.  State Governments can’t be trusted to always do the right thing and when they don’t the Federal Government must be able step in to save the National heritage”, he said.  “This decision illustrates exactly why the current proposal to delegate additional environmental powers to the States must now be rejected,” Mr Muir added.

“There is over 60 years of scientific research and government reports showing that cattle affect water catchments, soil and nature conservation values, and spoil visitors' enjoyment of national parks.

“In particular, cattle:

  • trample stream-banks, springs and soaks;
  • damage and destroy fragile wetlands;
  • pollute water;
  • create track;
  • cause soil erosion;
  • reduce wildflower displays;
  • spread weeds;
  • are known to be a significant threat to a number of rare and threatened plants and animals, and plant communities; and
  • cover areas in cowpats and spoil the enjoyment of the area for visitors”, Mr Muir said. 

“Minister Parker announced that grazing in national parks will continue till 2016.  Such a trial overseen by a former National Party member will compromise the primary nature conservation purpose of the river red gum national parks.  It’s clear that NSW national parks are now in a great deal of trouble, as parish pump politics and profits to local communities dictate park management, not nature conservation”, said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)