The Kimberley cattle industry will be the winner following a decision by the ILC to establish a multi-million dollar export cattle yard operation next to Roebuck Plains Station at Broome.
The ILC will invest close to $2 million to establish the yards as a fully commercial, accredited export cattle business with a capacity of up to 8,000 head of cattle at any one time.
ILC Chairperson Shirley McPherson said the export cattle yards will boost economic development in the general community and also create Indigenous jobs and training opportunities.
“In 2004, the ILC acquired a special lease adjacent to Roebuck Plains Station, which the ILC already owns,” Ms. McPherson said.
“This lease had new export yards constructed on it that would hold up to 1,000 head of cattle, but they were not completely finished by the then owner.
“The ILC has had many requests by the cattle industry to start up the yards as a commercial operation since one of the major cattle export yards in Broome closed last year, as a result of the owner using the land for storage for the gas and mining boom.
“The ILC’s export cattle yard business will also provide a unique opportunity for six full-time Indigenous trainees per year from Roebuck Plains to gain invaluable skills in the cattle industry and give trainees the opportunity to travel overseas with the export cattle on the boats,” Ms McPherson said.
Martin Whitely, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Food, applauded the ILC’s announcement, saying the initiative is a boon to the State’s northern cattle industry.
“A new export accredited yard near the Broome port will greatly facilitate the logistics involved in exporting larger consignments from Kimberley stations,” Mr Whitley said.
“This facility will go a long way to minimising the impact of the closure of other Kimberley export yards. It is an excellent example of how the ILC is looking to invest in the future of the pastoral industry,” he said.
As a part of the joint Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia and ILC Kimberley Indigenous Management Support Service pastoral program, it will also assist existing Aboriginal pastoral properties with timely
marketing, together with the possibility of consolidating cattle loads from different properties, which will increase prices paid for cattle.
LiveCorp, Chief Executive Officer Cameron Hall congratulated the ILC and and said LiveCorp supported the decision to build and operate registered export yards at Broome.
“This investment will assist the continuing growth of this vital trade for cattle producers and livestock exporters from Northern WA. In 2007 more than 90,000 cattle were exported from Broome to South East Asian markets, and demand is expected to continue to grow over the next three years” he said.
“The live cattle trade contributes $198 million to the Western Australian economy each year with $87 million generated in the northern region of the state and $111 million generated in the southern region.
“The livestock export industry employs 1,045 northern Western Australians including farming families, Indigenous landowners, exporters, stockmen, road transport providers, dockside workers and others that provide services to the trade such as veterinarians and fodder suppliers.
“Thousands of Western Australian farming families and communities rely on the livestock export trade for their livelihoods, and the development of ILC’s export yards at Broome will contribute to the sustainability of northern Western Australia’s communities” Mr Hall said.
The Pastoralists and Graziers Association Pastoral Committee Chair Ms Ruth Webb-Smith said: “the PGA congratulates the ILC on its decision to provide holding yards in Broome following the closure of the Port yards. The PGA encourages the ILC to develop the facilities to ensure 24/7 continual access to the yards to meet all required standards. This will ensure the industry can continue to grow and allow cattle to be processed throughout the year. The PGA also urges the WA State Government to give the ILC absolute support and assistance to ensure the regulatory requirements for the establishment of the yards are given the highest priority.”