NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has weighed into the debate over drought assistance for North West NSW farmers.
Mr Marshall wants farmers to be allowed to graze their livestock in in national parks and reserves and state forests.
His request follows NSW government's attempts to pass the contentious Crown Lands Amendment Bill through parliament.
Mr Marshall said he will raise the issue with the Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker.
An added bonus would be a reduction in fuel loads and fire risk, he said.
Currently the Office of Environment and Heritage is carrying out limited grazing trials in National Parks and Wildlife Services managed areas in southern NSW.
“I would like to make this a priority for two reasons – allowing drought stricken graziers access to feed and reducing the fire risk.
“I have received requests for assistance from farmers who have unsuccessfully sought permission to graze their livestock on state lands that adjoin their properties.
“Traditionally those farmers could graze their livestock on the reserves but when National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) took over management about a decade ago, all livestock were excluded.
“Given the worsening conditions I am seeking an extension of this trial to cover all former reserves,” he said.
Mr Marshall said “it was of great concern” to people living on the borders of reserves that, in some locations, little fuel load reduction had been executed.
“I have received feedback from primary producers in the electorate who consider the amount of grass in reserves they border to be a real fire risk.
“Controlled grazing of cattle would remove this risk as well as alleviate their immediate problem of having no feed for stock.”
Emergency grazing measures in selected Queensland national parks, in place since May, were greeted as "a commonsense solution" by stakeholders.
The grazing permits will not be extended beyond December 31, the Queensland government announced at the end of October.
In May, the Queensland Parliament passed an emergency grazing amendment to the Nature Conservation Act 1992, opening up selected properties and National Park land with previous grazing history as emergency agistment for Queensland’s drought-stricken graziers.
The move allowed agistment on five areas currently declared as National Park - Moorrinya, Forest Den, Blackbraes, Nairana and Mazeppa – while eight properties purchased in conjunction with the Commonwealth government under the National Reserve System (NRS), were reopened in the short-term.
National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said the six month temporary agistment permits for five national parks in North-West Queensland were provided as a crisis management tool which was welcomed as "a commonsense solution which has been widely supported by the Australian people and organisations including the RSPCA, Animals Australia and AgForce".