PASTORALISTS will no longer have to wait for agistment approvals from the Pastoral Lands Board (PLB) after the process was streamlined recently.
PLB chair Tim Shackleton said the agistment process for pastoralists across the Rangelands had been streamlined to help ensure livestock welfare, which has been an issue for the State government since December, with dry conditions making life difficult for pastoralists.
Last week Mr Shackleton said the PLB had authorised the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to approve applications on its behalf, to allow the early movement of drought-affected stock between properties.
This means approval can be granted at any time, rather than pastoralists having to wait for approval at PLB meetings, which are held every two months.
Mr Shackleton said the PLB was committed to ensuring animal welfare on pastoral stations throughout Western Australia.
"Pastoralists across the Rangelands are facing severe dry conditions and we will do everything possible to support them through the challenging season ahead," Mr Shackleton said.
"By speeding up the agistment process, approved pastoralists will be able to move stock more quickly between stations and ensure animals are safe, with adequate access to food and water.
"Agistment will also help alleviate overgrazing and land degradation."
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) director general Ralph Addis said the change, which would deliver more efficient agistment outcomes for pastoralists encountering tough seasonal conditions, was initiated as a result of the dry season response program.
"We are working with industry to identify where we can better co-ordinate our resources and programs to support producers and continue to maintain a strong focus on animal welfare," Mr Addis said.
Applicants will still need to meet certain criteria including that the duration of the agistment does not exceed two years.
Pastoralists who would like to apply should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen's Association (KPCA) chief executive Emma White said the KPCA welcomed "the delegation of the agistment approval process from the PLB to DPLH in an effort to expedite approvals as part of the dry season response and to complement the work being led by DPIRD".
"This is part of a range of opportunities KPCA will be working with DPIRD on as part of the dry season response to ensure a pragmatic and collaborative, risk-based approach is taken to working with the Pastoral industry in ongoing, difficult conditions," Ms White said.
Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA pastoral committee chairman Doug Hall said the announcement was "very positive from the PGA perspective".
"This was something we were hoping for," Mr Hall said.
He said the PGA was "delighted that the process" had changed and was endorsed by the board.
"The expediency and flexibility pastoralists need for care of livestock and the eco-system is in the hands of pastoralists," he said.