With the state’s pastures and stock routes wilting in the big dry – and others grazed down to the nub – regional councils and Local Lands Services are teaming up to search for pockets of public grass that could give producers a bit of feed.
The office of Barwon MP Kevin Humphries confirmed letters had been sent out to councils and the LLS urging cooperation to find outside-the-box grazing solutions, including locating suitable parcels of crown land that could host cattle and prevent a further sell-off of breeding and bloodline stock.
NSW producers have offloaded en mass amid crippling dry conditions and a lack of affordable feed.
LLS said it was open to the idea and had already been investigating the options.
A spokeswoman said only those reserves with a purpose of grazing could lawfully be used for grazing, and while these areas of land did exist in the Barown region, they were generally only in small isolated areas.
“(Councils) are limited by the type of land, insurances and history of use,” LLS said.
“Most of the Barwon electorate within the Western Division are Western Lands Leases that would already be used by leaseholders for their exclusive use.”
LLS and councils already make permits available for roadside grazing, but the application process can take up to two weeks.
NSW Farmers said it would like to see the process streamlined.
Association members have recently secured a commitment from Lithgow Council to fast-track their roadside grazing assessment process.
LLS said it would need to ensure there were controls around sensitive vegetation areas, indemnity of stock and land managers, impact to neighbouring holdings, stock disease, and the risk of weed spread.