THE Pastoralists and Graziers Association claims intervention by Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan to delay the transfer of two Kimberley stations to a new owner sets a concerning precedent for the industry.
Brooking Springs station owner Peter Camm has been prevented from buying Moola Boola and Mt Amhurst stations because of alleged cattle stealing charges brought against him three years ago. A trial date has still not been set.
PGA pastoral director Edgar Richardson said the property transfer deal, worth $18m, had obviously satisfied the Pastoral Lands Board for the transfer to be recommended to Ms MacTiernan.
"She has inferred by her action that she does not regard Mr Camm as a suitable purchaser," he said.
Mr Richardson said that in the future, a buyer of a pastoral property could be subject to a police check.
A spokesman for Ms MacTiernan said the decision had been deferred pending the outcome of the trial and that the charges of alleged cattle stealing were relevant to that particular industry.
Meanwhile Mr Camm said Ms MacTiernan's actions had taken away his assumption of innocence before a trial.
"You are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
His offer to buy the stations expires on August 8.
Mr Richardson said that as landlord for the pastoral industry, the PBL took responsibility not only for proper management of leases, but to ensure all intending purchases met a strict criteria as prescribed in the Act.
"The Minister's decision not to accept the PBL recommendation casts a very dark cloud over future pastoral investment in this state and is also of major concern to existing owners who may wish to sell out," he said.
"This is not the first time a pending sale of Moola Boola has been disrupted by political interference, and we are keen to see this matter resolved as quickly as possible".
Mr Camm said he had not been planning to sell his Brooking Springs station to buy Moola Boola and Mt Amhurst, which cover more than 700,000ha and include about 35,000 head of cattle.