Tres­passers cause prob­lems

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

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.”

Pic­ture: Court­ney Fowler

Mund­ab­ul­lan­gana Sta­tion man­ager Michael Thomp­son.

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