No land deal for sta­tions

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

The State Gov­ern­ment has shut the door on the prospect of hand­ing land back to pas­toral­ists along the Nin­ga­loo Coast.

Man­agers of Nin­ga­loo and War­roora sta­tions have been in a long-run­ning and bit­ter dis­pute over land ex­cised from their leases in 2015, which the State Gov­ern­ment wants to use for tourism and con­ser­va­tion.

Nin­ga­loo Sta­tion man­ager Phil Ken­drick was hope­ful a change in State Gov­ern­ment would help the Le­froy fam­ily keep hold of beaches bor­der­ing their sta­tion that have been used by gen­er­a­tions of trav­ellers for camp­ing.

But while Lands Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti said the Gov­ern­ment would push ahead with plans to im­prove coastal ac­cess in the re­gion and employment for tra­di­tional own­ers, she had no in­ten­tion of meet­ing the pas­toral­ists.

“As Nin­ga­loo Sta­tion is no longer a pas­toral lease and the mat­ter is sub­ject to lit­i­ga­tion in­sti­gated by the former lessee, it is not ap­pro­pri­ate that the min­is­ter meet with the man­ager,” she said.

“In 2004, Nin­ga­loo Sta­tion did not agree to pro­posed ex­clu­sion ar­eas and as a con­se­quence this pas­toral lease was not re­newed in 2015. “The State and War­roora Sta­tion al­ready agreed to a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion to its ex­clu­sion area prior to its lease be­ing re­newed on July 1, 2015.”

Af­ter agree­ing to the 2015 deal,

War­roora Sta­tion man­ager Leonie McLeod said they had done so only be­cause the gov­ern­ment had “put a gun to our head”.

Mean­while, Nin­ga­loo’s man­agers are to take the fight to the Supreme Court this year.

Mr Ken­drick said the Nin­ga­loo coast­line was one UNESCO had praised as be­ing kept in pris­tine con­di­tion by pas­toral­ists and it made sense to bring the State Gov­ern­ment back to the ta­ble.

“I would have thought with this new La­bor Gov­ern­ment, look­ing for con­sid­er­able sav­ings, they would con­sider our plight and say in­stead of cost­ing the tax­payer $9.2 mil­lion in bu­reau­crats to run each sta­tion, they would see the sav­ings in al­low­ing the pas­toral­ists to keep the land,” he said.

“We have put 32 pro­pos­als to (the De­part­ment of Parks and Wildlife) and all have been re­jected. I feel very con­fi­dent that, if we can talk to the cur­rent State Gov­ern­ment and put a pro­posal to them, that we can work in con­junc­tion with them to make an iconic wilder­ness camp­ing area.” Mr Ken­drick said the plans in their cur­rent form would re­sult in six peo­ple los­ing their jobs. En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son said the Nin­ga­loo Coast draft man­age­ment plan would be re­leased for pub­lic com­ment in the next six months, with a fi­nal plan ex­pected in 2018.

“Parks and Wildlife and (the) Gnulli (peo­ple) have been in con­tact with pas­toral­ists in re­gards to man­age­ment and plan­ning for the coast where pos­si­ble,” he said, ad­ding DPaW was keen to de­velop a re­la­tion­ship with pas­toral­ists to man­age the coast.

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