Ran­ge­lands event fails pas­toral­ists

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

■ War­rawagine Sta­tion owner Robin Mills has ex­pressed his dis­ap­point­ment a con­fer­ence fo­cused on ini­tia­tives to de­velop the State’s ran­ge­lands failed to in­vite most pas­toral­ists in the Pil­bara.

The 2016 Sus­tain­able Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment in WA Con­fer­ence was a rare op­por­tu­nity for pas­toral in­dus­try lead­ers to meet with Govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing Lands Min­is­ter Terry Red­man and Wa­ter Min­is­ter Mia Davies.

Mr Mills, who spoke about de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for pas­toral­ists, said out of the 230 peo­ple at the con­fer­ence fewer than 30 pas­toral­ists were in at­ten­dance be­cause of an ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror.

“It’s pretty dis­ap­point­ing there were only 30 of us there. The room was full of bu­reau­crats and politi­cians, ” he said. “It was also very dis­ap­point­ing that nei­ther Min­is­ter Red­man nor Davies stayed af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tions to talk with pas­toral­ists … they re­ally didn’t seem that in­ter­ested in what we had to say.”

Depart­ment of Lands di­rec­tor-gen­eral Colin Slat­tery said a fol­low-up event would be held to en­sure pas­toral­ists were af­forded the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the fu­ture of the ran­ge­lands.

“An ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror meant a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of pas­toral­ists ei­ther did not re­ceive in­vi­ta­tions or were not able to ac­cess on­line-based pro­mo­tions for the Perth CBD event, ” he said.

“The Depart­ment of Lands will re­lease de­tails on this se­cond event as soon as they are known.”

Mr Mills said a se­cond con­fer­ence would be a huge in­con­ve­nience only weeks away from the start of the mus­ter­ing sea­son.

He added the ini­tial ad­min­is­tra­tion er­ror had con­firmed for many pas­toral­ists how out of touch govern­ment de­part­ments were with the pas­toral in­dus­try.

“Min­is­ter Red­man said at the con­fer­ence he would be bring­ing in new reg­u­la­tions so pas­toral­ists will be able to get bet­ter range­land tenures to di­ver­sify, ” he said.

“But at end of the day, for us to do any­thing dif­fer­ent than rais­ing stock on pas­toral leases we have to go through se­ries of de­part­ments in­clud­ing lands, wa­ter and en­vi­ron­ment.

“To put down a bore for our ir­ri­ga­tion pro­ject I had to ap­ply for a di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion per­mit from lands, ap­ply to the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment for per­mis­sion to clear and had to ap­ply to the Depart­ment of Wa­ter to use the bore.

“Six months later and I still haven’t had my per­mits ap­proved.”

Mr Mills said he feared the cur­rent level of bu­reau­cracy would cause pas­toral­ists to walk away from di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion per­mits.

He added that Mr Red­man’s de­ci­sion to scratch the Pas­toral Lands Board was a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern for many in the in­dus­try. But Mr Red­man de­fended the move at the con­fer­ence and said PLB would be re­placed with a ran­ge­lands ad­vi­sory board made up of all stake­hold­ers.

Pic­ture: Nic El­lis

Robin Mills at his Pil­bara cat­tle sta­tion, War­rawagine.

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