THE State Government has announced a review of Aboriginal-held stations, to look at ways of improvin

15 Nov, 2006 08:45 PM

About 12pc of all WA pastoral leases are held by Aboriginal organisations and, according to Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan, some have been experiencing problems.

Many of the stations are not run at capacity and are managed poorly, according to Ms MacTiernan.

An example of this was highlighted last February when the Windidda Aboriginal Corporation (WAC) was fined $10,000 after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges for failing to provide cattle with proper and sufficient water.

The 355,000ha pastoral property east of Wiluna was found to be in a seriously run down condition with numerous dead stock and others left without adequate water.

Only three of the 17 watering points on the station were in working order, and no-one was found at the homestead when RSPCA inspectors arrived.

The RSPCA had to muster more than 1500 head of cattle from Windidda to Geraldton - where they were sold - and trucked thousands of gallons of water to the station.

According to Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) pastoral director Edgar Richard-son, Windidda is not an isolated incident.

³We¹ve been asking them to do something about it for quite some time,² Mr Richardson said.

³There are probably worse cases out there than Windidda.

³In those cases it certainly has huge implications having them as neighbours; it has been a bit of a headache for people and hasn¹t made the management of stations any easier.²

Ms MacTiernan said the skills of Aboriginal stockmen and wo-men had been a crucial part of the WA pastoral industry, but the transition from station owner-ship had proven difficult for some.

The review panel wants to hear from pastoralists, representative bodies and other individuals or organisations with an interest in Aboriginal pastoralism.

Comments are invited until March 1, 2007, and can be submitted via the website at

Findings are expected to be released late next year.

Mr Richardson said he was pleased Ms MacTiernan had decided to go ahead with the review, but the real test would be what came out of it.

³One of the problems is if they are running at less than half capacity, and there are some cases where they are run with very little stock on them; it deteriorates the industry as a whole,² he said.

³Some of those stations are on prime land, like Windidda ‹ that¹s a pretty good station. If stations like that were being run at full capacity it would be good for the Aboriginal and the pastoral industries in general.²


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