Pastoralists welcome WA rangeland reform push

Zach RelphThe West Australian
The State’s pastoralists are welcoming the McGowan Government’s proposed rangelands reform.
Camera IconThe State’s pastoralists are welcoming the McGowan Government’s proposed rangelands reform. Credit: Louise White / Kalgoorlie Miner

Northern WA pastoralists are hopeful the State Government will make its long-awaited rangelands reform a reality after the former Barnett government’s failed attempt.

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan revealed the Pastoral Lands Reform in Broome last Friday, with Anna Plains Station owner David Stoate among pastoralists welcoming the proposed package.

Ms MacTiernan told the Kim-berley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association conference the McGowan Government intended to have the reforms through Parliament before the end of next year.

Mr Stoate, who is the KPCA chairman, said the initial components outlined in the package were positive but the finer details remained unknown.

The pastoralist said he was “hopeful” the package would be implemented within the time frame, but was not holding his breath.

Anna Plains Station pastoralist and Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association chairman David Stoate.
Camera IconAnna Plains Station pastoralist and Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association chairman David Stoate. Credit: Zach Relph

“The thing with tenure reform is that other governments have had a go over the years but haven’t seemed to get anywhere,” he said.

“We are pleased that this Government is persisting ... the package will give the industry greater confidence to invest.”

Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA president Tony Seabrook said the package was “a significant step forward”, but the “devil will be in the detail”.

The Government’s package aims to encourage development and diversification to give pastoralists confidence to explore complementary income.

Key measures include being able to increase a lease from 18 years to 50 years, to bolster pastoralists’ tenure security to prompt investment for land management and non-pastoral activities.

It also proposes a statutory right of pastoral lease renewal, subject to compliance with lease and statutory conditions.

Ms MacTiernan said the package was “considered and modest” to support the development of pastoral businesses, improve land condition and broaden income streams.

“This is going to be of considerable value to the industry and I hope we get real support,” she said.

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

“We know our friends at the PGA are strongly behind us and if we can get (KPCA) behind us, we will get the political momentum to get this through Parliament.”

The State Government will spearhead an integrated risk-based approach to land condition monitoring and compliance in partnership with the Pastoral Lands Board, industry and native title holders, under the new package.

The PLB will have enhanced enforcement powers and be able to remove “specified number of live-stock” from non-compliant pastoral properties.

Ms MacTiernan said she aimed to have a draft Bill for the Lands Administration Act in Parliament by the second half of next year, and passed before the end of next year.

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