Opposition calls on O'Farrell to rule out grazing in National Parks: Finance Minister seeks to meet with proponents of leasing out National Parks

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The NSW Labor Opposition has called on the O'Farrell Government to rule out allowing grazing in national parks – after the Finance Minister told Parliament he would be "delighted" to meet with proponents of leasing out parts of the State's national parks.

The Western Division Group of Councils is calling on the O'Farrell Government to consider leasing parts of NSW national parks to farmers to "help reduce the burden on taxpayers".

When questioned about the proposal yesterday by Shooters Party MLC Robert Borsak, Finance Minister Greg Pearce enthusiastically declared to the Parliament: "I would be delighted to meet with these councils".

"The O'Farrell Government is considering opening up NSW national parks to graziers," Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said.

"Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner and Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson repeatedly called for farmers to be allowed to graze their cattle inside national parks in opposition.

"The Victorian Coalition Government introduced cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park when it came to office, before the Federal Environment Minister overruled them.

"Unbelievably, Environment Minister Robyn Parker has also contemplated allowing graziers into national parks 'if there is a benefit to biodiversity'.

"Robyn Parker needs to learn that logging doesn’t protect koalas and grazing in national parks doesn’t help biodiversity.

"Allowing graziers into NSW national parks would threaten native animals and plants.

"Our national parks provide a refuge for more than 1,000 endangered species of flora and fauna, as well as protecting precious landscapes.

"We need an Environment Minister who will fight to protect our environment – not bow to ministers who want to open up our protected national parks to graziers."