Pastoralists in the Pilbara face losing their only cattle exporting and feedlot facilities because of planned road modifications into Port Hedland. Moves by Development WA, Main Roads and Town of Port Hedland to modify roads into the Boodarie Industrial Area will cut off access for the Hedland Export Depot. Former Nationals MP Paul Brown, who owns the depot, has a 16-year lease remaining with the Town of Port Hedland but he warned the roadworks would bankrupt his business, unless suitable alternative access from the Great Northern Highway could be sorted. He said he had invested millions of dollars in the facility which he built in 2007 and reopened in 2017 following a six year shutdown after the live cattle ban in 2011. The road modifications — aimed at safety — are being funded through a $10 million DevelopmentWA COVID-19 stimulus package. Work is set to begin in April. Closure of the depot — which provides feedlotting and live export services for pastoralists across the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Murchison — would mean farmers would have to truck cattle to Broome or Perth for export. “This will have a negative affect on the Pilbara cattle industry, which was just starting to embrace live exports through Port Hedland again,” Mr Brown said. “Pilbara pastoralists will have no option but to have cattle transported more than 1600kms south, rather than use a facility that is specifically designated for their benefit. “By delivering cattle to our yards pastoralists are $80-$120 better off per animal,” Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said it was disappointing these parties could crush a local business and remove an important service for pastoralists. “They should be asking Mr Brown what they need to do to make it work, rather than telling him it’s just too bad,” he said. Mr Brown said he was not consulted on the matter and has initiated legal action on the grounds the Town of Port Hedland would be in breach of its lease. The Town’s Mayor, Peter Carter, said the lease indicated it didn’t have to provide access to the site from Great Northern Highway in its current configuration, which appeared to involve a dangerous manoeuvre across the highway to load cattle trucks. “In the interest of fairness the town is progressing discussions with DevelopmentWA, MRWA and Water Corporation to resolve an alternative, safer access manoeuvre to ensure the Boodarie Entrance Road can go ahead and the HED facility can remain operational,” he said. DevelopmentWA said Main Roads, The Town of Port Hedland and DevelopmentWA were investigating solutions.