Trespassers cause problems
Local station manager Michael Thompson has appealed to the public to think twice before cutting boundary fences to gain access to his properties illegally.
His comments follow incidents last week in which four fences along the boundaries of Boodarie and Mundabullangana stations were damaged beyond repair and drivers on the North West Coastal Highway were left vulnerable to stray cattle.
Mr Thompson estimated he had spent more than $20,000 in the past five years on fixing and replacing fencing cut by trespassers who came on his land illegally to shoot and camp.
“It’s important we make people realise the gates are locked for a reason — everyone who cuts the fence to get in is on the property illegally,” he said.
“This middle part of the year, when it cools off, is particularly bad ... we only just put up brand new fencing along the highway near Turner River, at a cost of $5000/km.
“People just don’t understand the cost to our business when they do stuff like this.
“It’s a day’s work for two of my blokes ... not to mention we lose $1000-$2000 per head of cattle which we lose, plus the damage it does to someone’s car if they are hit.”
Earlier this year, several pastoralists along the North West Coastal Highway spoke to West Australian Newspapers about problems with gates being left open and fences being destroyed.
Mr Thompson said he locked the gate to Boodarie Station along the south side of the Turner River in response to these issues, but problems associated with rubbish, trespassers and shooting had continued.
“There’s plenty of station owners who allow access to their properties, but people need to seek permission to shoot out on Boodarie and Munda,” he said.
“We’ve got better things to do than chase around after people shooting my cattle and cutting the fences.
“We are in the process of putting security cameras up along the fences, but it’s a huge cost to us at around $500 per camera.”
Senior Sergeant Dean Snashall said local police did their best to patrol the boundaries of nearby pastoral leases, but the message wasn’t getting through to certain members of the community.
“I’m aware that it’s a problem that most pastoral owners have ... most jobs we get reported are people going shooting, which is a concern,” he said.
“It’s a real safety issue having multiple parties on a large property with firearms. Crossfire of ammunition is a concern, not to mention the risk to drivers if they hit stray cattle that get loose.
“We ask pastoralists to continue to report all incidents to us so we can do our best to work together to map the problem and catch offenders.”
Mundabullangana Station manager Michael Thompson.