At-risk pastoral stations equipped for hot conditions

Zach RelphCountryman
WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan at the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association conference in Broome.
Camera IconWA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan at the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association conference in Broome. Credit: Zach Relph

State Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan says multiple “at-risk” pastoral stations under the WA livestock compliance watchdog’s microscope are equipped to fend off the rangelands’ hampering dry spell.

Two animal welfare incidents rocked the pastoral industry earlier this year after 490 dehydrated cattle died at Noonkanbah Station in central Kimberley and 1173 head were confirmed dead at Yandeyarra Reserve, near Port Hedland.

It led to the State Government inspecting 80 pastoral properties, equating to almost 20 per cent of the 434 across all of WA’s rangelands, in an effort to identify stations at risk of an animal welfare mishap amid prolonged parched conditions.

Last month, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development confirmed a small number of cattle had also perished at a Kimberley pastoral property.

Speaking in Broome on the sidelines of the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association conference on Friday, Ms MacTiernan, pictured, did not rule out another cattle welfare event emerging leading into the hotter months.

However, she said DPIRD officials aiding properties, including Yandeyarra and Noonkanbah, had improved cattle management for extended dry periods.

“It would be wrong to underestimated the seriousness in which these communities are taking this matter,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“They recognise that there was a deep failure and they have been very prepared to work with (DPIRD) to put in place something much for significant for the future.

“We are not just focusing on those two ... we’ve gone out and identified those that we think are most at risk.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails