17 Apr OUT-OF-CONTROL BURNS SPARK ENQUIRY CALLS FROM KATTER
Katter’s Australian Party leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter is calling on the State Government to lodge an enquiry into its aggressive reach to obtain more land for under-resourced national parks.
This comes following a blaze that burned out of control in White Mountains National Park between Charters Towers and Hughenden in recent days, destroying valuable pastures on adjoining stations.
Mr Katter was contacted by a concerned local who raised the alarm, advising that ill-equipped graziers of surrounding properties had been left to fight the fires themselves.
“It was brought to my attention that the controlled burn of White Mountains National Park had become out of control and was now affecting the surrounding properties,” Mr Katter said.
“After speaking with local graziers who had been affected by this, I have been advised that there were several property owners who were not advised that the burn was even taking place.
“They have told that from their point of view there is no issue with the burn itself, however normally the burns happen later in the year, and they as surrounding property owners are given notice.
“This allows them to prepare.
“They can grade their boundaries and have resources in place.
“These fires burning out of control have already cost them several days’ work and hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources and assets.”
Mr Katter said he was also advised that the burns were only monitored by the Northern Australian Fire Information (NAFI) website, and were not monitored visually.
This stemmed from the issue of more than one fire being lit at once, with rangers unable to visually monitor them all.
“The real issue is the lack of resources provided to maintain and upkeep the national parks that the government insists on continuing to buy,” Mr Katter said.
“The assistance offered by National Parks upon the fires becoming out of control was short-lived, with the ranger needing to leave to assist with other issues.
“Having fought the fires for several days now, the graziers have not received any emergency assistance and now don’t want any. They no longer need help. They have told me, however, that National Parks does; they have no resources to prevent these situations from occurring, nor any resources to deal with them if, and when they do, occur.
“The rangers managing these large amounts of land are stretched, with many rangers managing and working on several national parks themselves.”
Mr Katter said if the Government insisted on buying up land that was currently being well-managed by graziers who know what they are doing and had been successfully managing the land for generations, then it needed to provide more resources.
“Education, equipment, and manpower are lacking in the management of these national parks,” he said.
“These national parks are quite literally out of control; if it’s not fires, it’s weeds and pests. I say do it properly or leave it to someone who can.”