McVeigh stands for Qld farmers whose cattle need to graze

Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh.
Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh. Chris Ison

A SCHEME to allow more drought-affected cattle to graze on national parks has frustrated park advocates who warn it will spread weeds and destroy the habitats of native animals.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said his department would take applications from graziers who needed to access National Park land for their struggling livestock.

"Tens of thousands of head of cattle are at real risk of dying and we cannot allow that to happen," Mr McVeigh said.

The department has worked with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to work out what areas were most appropriate for temporary grazing.

National Parks Association of Queensland executive Paul Donatiu said 80% of the state's land already belonged to agriculture industries, there was no need to infringe on the 4.8% designated as National Parks.

"Queensland just came through one of the worst droughts in living memory, but at no stage did the State Government resort to allowing grazing on National Parks," he said.

"Cattle will spread weeds, trample the habitat of native animals and destroy waterways in these parks."

The issue has proven a thorny one for the state after laws were first passed in May to allow the grazing.

Aside from environmental activists, the state also copped criticism from the Federal Government for what it saw as the misuse of National Parks.