Freehold application by Gogo Station

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Veteran stockman Jimmy Shandley in an irrigated sorghum crop on Gogo Station near Fitzroy Crossing.
Camera IconVeteran stockman Jimmy Shandley in an irrigated sorghum crop on Gogo Station near Fitzroy Crossing. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian.

One of the Kimberley’s best known cattle stations has applied for freehold title over about 10,000 hectares of its pastoral lease as it pursues plans to an irrigation precinct near Fitzroy Crossing.

Gogo Station, owned by Malcolm Harris and his family, will use part of the freehold land to build dams and a feedlot to support a big increase in cattle production.

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The station already produces sorghum for cattle feed under a centre pivot irrigation system covering about 70ha.

The Harris family, who have just added a station in the Northern Territory to their vast livestock interests, are testing the State Government’s new pathway for converting chunks of pastoral leases to freehold land.

Under the pathway, station owners can seek upfront Cabinet approval for the conversion.

The Gogo plan involves capturing overland water flow in dams and making use of underground reserves subject to regulatory approval and striking an agreement with the traditional owners.

Gogo development manager Phil Hams said the station had a strong relationship with traditional owners the Gooniyandi, whose leaders include veteran stockman Jimmy Shandley.

Gogo is home to about 1000 traditional owners living in seven separate communities.

Mr Hams urged other pastoralists and investors not to be put off by the complexities of dealing with the Native Title Act.

“People tend to put it in the too hard basket. It is not impossible, but it is not easy either,” he said.

“You have got to negotiate and that takes time and effort. I think we create opportunities for indigenous people by working our way through it.”

Mr Hams said Gogo was “flat out” baling hay to feed cattle as they came into the holding yards. Gogo also plans to stand and graze thousands of cattle at a time under the plan.

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