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Issue 6 March 2008

Pastoral Lines

The Official Magazine of The Pastoral Lands Board

FEATURES IN THIS ISSUE Selling a pastoral lease Animal welfare and livestock transport Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management Support to Aboriginal pastoral stations RFDS on the Road primary health care program Public access to pastoral leases ISSN: 1834-2566


Pastoral Lines Pastoral Lines is the official magazine of the Pastoral Lands Board of Western Australia. It is published annually and has a circulation of 1,900, which includes all pastoral lessees and station managers. It is distributed free of charge.

Executive Editor: Brian Lloyd

Pastoral Lines is also available electronically on the website: www.dpi.wa.gov.au/pastoral under ‘Information and Publications’.

Material from this magazine is copyright. It may be reprinted; however, in all cases, the source must be fully acknowledged.

Editorial enquiries: (08) 9347 5126 Postal address: Pastoral Land Business Unit, Department for Planning and Infrastructure, PO Box 1575, Midland, Western Australia, 6936. Email: plb@dpi.wa.gov.au

Copyright© The Director General of the Department for Planning and Infrastructure, Western Australia 2008.

ISSN 1834-2566

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From the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Welcome to this latest issue of Pastoral Lines.

management in a natural resource management context.

It is my pleasure to welcome two new members to the Pastoral Lands Board whose experience and knowledge will benefit your industry greatly.

Although the State Government would have hoped for a different response, the majority of pastoralists voted to reject the new tenure model proposed for pastoral leases - even though it offered a choice of tenure.

Ms Leanne Corker has been the lessee of Red Hill Station in the Ashburton with her husband Digby since 1987. She has been a Councillor with the Shire of Ashburton since 2003 and Shire President since 2005, and has also been an active member of the Ashburton Land Conservation District Committee. Mr Brett Pollock, a deputy member, has been the lessee of Wooleen Station in the Murchison since 1990. He has been a chartered accountant and Shire Clerk for the Murchison and Shark Bay shires, and has also served on tourism associations and natural resource management committees. I look forward to working with the new members and the Board to ensure the effective administration of pastoral leases. I would also like to welcome Nevin Wittber as the new General Manager of the Pastoral Land Business Unit. He brings to the job some 20 years of experience in project planning and

I have indicated I will consider changes to a small number of clauses. I hope this can be settled by the end of April 2008. In the same process, the overwhelming majority of pastoralists voted in favour of having the nominee of the Pastoralists and Graziers’ Association as the pastoral member on the new Rangelands Council, which will oversee the establishment of environmental management standards for all rangelands and measure their sustainability. I am shortly to release and offer my views on the Review into Industry Training for Aboriginal Pastoralists. However, I am pleased that significant progress has been made towards implementing the key recommendation of this report, the establishment of an Indigenous Pastoral Enterprise Unit. This Unit will assist Aboriginal people to address high-level governance

issues and develop land-based economic activities on pastoral leases, in line with community aspirations. In this issue of Pastoral Lines you can also read about the effectiveness of the Indigenous Landholder Service (ILS), a joint venture between the Department of Agriculture and Food WA and the Indigenous Land Corporation. Over the last 18 months, 928 ILS participants have undergone some form of primary industry training in relation to their business across the State. Currently, plans are underway to create a new ILS service in the Mid-West, Murchison and Upper Gascoyne regions. Pastoral Lines is once again filled with a wealth of interesting and useful information and I draw your attention to the articles on the latest technology, which is available to assist pastoralists access important information. Enjoy! Alannah MacTiernan Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

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Contents From the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure ................. 3 About the Pastoral Lands Board ...................................................... 5 Members of the Board .......................................................................6-7 New General Manager .......................................................................... 7

Pastoral Management News » Pastoral Lease Management Selling a pastoral lease ..................................................................... 8 Accurate survey information of pastoral boundaries .... 9 Changing your pastoral lease boundaries ...........................10 Destocking a pastoral lease ........................................................11 Station plans important for managing pastoral leases ..12 Agisting stock on pastoral leases .............................................13 Unpaid pastoral lease rents ........................................................13 Rangeland Condition Assessments .........................................14 Lessees urged to pass on information to station managers ..............................................................................15 Separate Annual Returns .............................................................15 Diversification Permits ..................................................................15

» Stock Managing the stocking rate within the carrying capacity ..................................................................................................16 Animal welfare and livestock transport ...............................18 Rural Crime Squad ..........................................................................20 Relocation of Midland saleyards to Muchea .....................21 Did you know? - Dividing fences .............................................21 Livestock trespass ............................................................................22 Did you know? - Cattle husbandry practices ...................23

» Environment Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management ESRM .......................................................................................................24 EcoFire - Fire management in the Kimberley ....................26 Did you know? - Clearing ............................................................27 Promoting community and government partnerships in natural resource management ..................................................28 The Shared Land Information Platform and natural resource information .....................................................................30 The Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act ............................................................................................................31

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» Water Water management in the rangelands .................................32 Water supply grants for pastoralists ......................................34

Features Two WA pastoralists in Nuffield 2007 scholarship winners ..........................................................................................................36 Support to Aboriginal pastoral stations ......................................37 Review into industry training for Aboriginal pastoralists ....39 New opportunities for tropical and pastoral agriculture ...40 Landgate: A one-stop shop for pastoralists ..............................41 Pastoral lease market sees a decline from previous year ..42 Harvesting dead sandalwood in the Gascoyne-Murchison .............................................................................43 Rangeland survey reports ...................................................................44 Did you know? - EPIRBs .......................................................................45 Telemetry in the pastoral industry .................................................46 Did you know? - Aboriginal sites .....................................................47 Centenary of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology 1908-2008 ...................................................................................................48 Safe use and management of 1080 ...............................................49 Wild dog management in the rangelands - an update .......50 Data logging to combat wild dogs .................................................51

Help for the Homestead RFDS on the Road primary health care program ....................52 The Rural Women’s GP Service - providing choice .............53 Look after your business - have a routine health check-up ........................................................................................................54 Pastoral traineeships in Western Australia .................................55 Carnarvon School of the Air .............................................................56 Public access to pastoral leases ........................................................58 GPS settings - make sure they’re right .........................................59 Did you know? - Grants and assistance .......................................59 On both sides of the fence - an update on the Good Neighbour Policy ......................................................................................60 Did you Know? - Miner’s Rights .......................................................61 Telecentre network provides regional opportunities ..........62 Get your contact details up-to-date ..............................................63


About the Pastoral Lands Board The Pastoral Lands Board of Western Australia is established under the Land Administration Act 1997. Functions of the Board are to: a) advise the Minister on policy relating to the pastoral industry and the administration of pastoral leases; b) administer pastoral leases in accordance with Part 7 of the LAA; c) ensure pastoral leases are managed on an ecologically sustainable basis; d) develop policies to prevent the degradation of rangelands; e) develop policies to rehabilitate degraded or eroded rangelands and to restore their pastoral potential; f) consider applications for the subdivision of pastoral land and make recommendations to the Minister in relation to them; g) establish and evaluate a system of pastoral land monitoring sites;

Members of the Pastoral Lands Board (L to R): Paul Baron, Graeme Rundle, Rod Campbell, Sandra Eckert, Roger O’Dwyer (for David Hartley), Leanne Corker, Peter Leutenegger, Nevin Wittber (General Manager, Pastoral Land Business Unit) and Graeme Robertson.

h) monitor the numbers and the effect of stock and feral animals on pastoral land; i) conduct or commission research into any matters that it considers are relevant to the pastoral industry;

j) provide such other assistance or advice as the Minister may require in relation to the administration of Part 7 of the LAA; and k) exercise or perform such other functions as it may be given under the LAA or any other Act.

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Members of the Board Prof Graeme Robertson – Chairman Professor Robertson is currently Director and Professor of the Muresk Institute, Curtin University of Technology. He was previously the Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Chairperson of the Federal Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation. Graeme was a Rhodes Scholar and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Agriculture obtained at Oxford University. He also has an Honours degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Western Australia. He has been involved in a wide range of research, development and management activities in many aspects of primary industry in Western Australia. He has also held key roles on many boards and committees in relation to agriculture, the pastoral industry and natural resource management.

Rod Campbell – Pastoral Member Rod is the current lessee of Kybo Station on the Nullarbor and has over 40 years experience in station

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management. He is also an active member of the Nullarbor-Eyre Highway Land Conservation District Committee.

Leanne Corker – Pastoral Member Leanne has been the lessee of Red Hill Station in the Ashburton with her husband Digby since 1987. She has been a Councillor with the Shire of Ashburton since 2003 and Shire President since 2005. She has been an active member of the Ashburton Land Conservation District Committee and, since 2005, the Chair.

Peter Leutenegger – Pastoral Member Peter has been the lessee of Napier Downs Station, east of Derby since 1992. Prior to this, he worked on sheep and cattle stations in Queensland and in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

Graeme Rundle – Conservation Member Graeme has a special interest in biodiversity conservation, with a focus on the rangelands, which has involved interaction with related government agencies, and the pastoral and mining industries.

Paul Baron – Aboriginal Member Paul is the General Manager of the Baiyungu Aboriginal Corporation, the lessees of Cardabia Station north of Coral Bay and he is also the Chairperson of the Cardabia Pastoral Company. Paul has served on several Aboriginal organisations and training groups.

Sandra Eckert – representing the Director General of the Department for Planning and Infrastructure. Sandra is a legal practitioner and is a Legal Officer with the Legislative and Legal Services section of the Department for Planning and Infrastructure.

David Hartley – representing the Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Food David is the Executive Director of Natural Resource Management with the Department of Agriculture and Food.


Deputy members of the Board Brett Pollock – Deputy to Rod Campbell

Ruth Webb-Smith – Deputy to Leanne Corker

Dr Tony Brandis – Deputy to Graeme Rundle

Brett was a jackaroo on Wooleen Station in the Murchison between 1972 and 1981 and has been the lessee of Wooleen since 1990. Prior to this, he was a chartered accountant and was a Shire Clerk for the Murchison and Shark Bay Shires between 1981 and 1990. Brett has also served on various tourism associations and natural resource management committees.

Ruth was a previous lessee of Beefwood Park in the Kimberley and is a lessee of Wyloo Station in the Ashburton and Yakka Munga Station in the Kimberley. Ruth has also been a member of several committees and groups associated with the pastoral industry.

Tony is a Master of Environmental Science, Master of Education and Doctor of Natural Resource Management. He is a Senior Policy Adviser and Project Manager with the Department of Environment and Conservation and has responsibility for establishing the conservation reserve system in the rangelands.

Jack Burton – Deputy to Peter Leutenegger Jack is the lessee of Kilto, Yeeda and Mt Jowlaenga Stations in the West Kimberley. He also has interests in several other stations in the Kimberley and Goldfields.

Marion Dolby – Deputy to Paul Baron Marion, along with her husband, manages Mt Pierre Station near Fitzroy Crossing.

New General Manager The Pastoral Land Business Unit, which supports the Pastoral Lands Board, has a new General Manager. Nevin Wittber was schooled in Wiluna, Mt. Barker and Perth, which provided him with a mix of pastoral, agricultural and urban experiences. After completing Year 12, Nevin entered a cadet program with the Department of CALM and in 1988 started duties as a forester in Harvey, WA. Since that time, Nevin has gained 20 years of experience in project planning and management, developing and leading teams and engaging stakeholders in a natural resource management context. His recent role at the Forest Products Commission involved planning and coordinating activities under the Strategic Tree Farming project - Australia’s biggest single NAP-funded project. Nevin lives in the Perth hills (so he thinks he’s still in the country!) with his wife and three sons and recently completed an MBA at the University of Western Australia. Nevin is looking forward to his role in ‘redder pastures’, working with the pastoral industry and the Pastoral Lands Board.

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Selling a pastoral lease

One of the responsibilities of the Pastoral Lands Board (PLB) is to make recommendations to the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure in respect to the sale and transfer of pastoral leases. Under sections 18 and 134 of the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA), a pastoral lease cannot be transferred without prior Ministerial consent.

If you want to offer your station for sale you must, in the first instance, apply in writing to the PLB advising of your intention. The PLB, in considering such a request, will need to review a Rangeland Condition Assessment for the station. In circumstances where a lease has been inspected within the previous three years and there are no new land management issues, a new inspection may not need to be undertaken. Once the PLB has considered the request, and approval is granted, the lessee will be advised of the conditions of sale. Permission to sell will be valid for 12 months. Should a sale not eventuate within this time and the property is to remain on the market, a new application will need to be made.

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In summary, the process comprises four stages: 1 lessee requests permission to sell 2 proposed purchaser is assessed 3 Ministerial approval is endorsed on executed and stamped Transfer 4 transfer lodged at Landgate for registration.

Get ‘Permission to Sell’ before advertising the station for sale Pastoralists selling stations occasionally run into problems when they advertise the station for sale before obtaining permission from the PLB. In such cases, a prospective purchaser may make a written offer and have it accepted before permission is granted.

Issues may then arise if the purchaser is subsequently informed of particular requirements set down by the PLB as part of the ‘permission to sell’. For example, specific requirements might relate to infrastructure repair, destocking an area or closure of waters. The prospective purchaser might not have had prior knowledge of these requirements, resulting in disagreements with the selling pastoralist. To avoid such situations, pastoralists are strongly advised to gain permission to sell the station before advertising it for sale. It should be noted that the PLB will recommend that permission to transfer not be granted if there are any outstanding obligations


Pastoral Management News

or requirements. These include such things as Management Plans, Annual Return of Livestock and Improvements, and rent. Once a purchaser has been found, the purchaser will need to comply with the conditions of transfer and be considered for eligibility in terms of: • the State Government Foreign Ownership of Pastoral Lease Policy (currently 50 per cent Australian equity); and • the maximum area limitation (currently 500,000 hectares; but with Ministerial discretion to exceed the limit in certain circumstances). Other standard conditions will require the purchaser to agree to: • abide by the requirements of Parts 7, 9 and 10 of the LAA and provisions of the Soil and Land Conservation Act 1945; and • submit a Management Plan, including evidence of financial capacity to manage the lease and details of proposed management.

In this instance, an inspection will not be necessary nor will compliance with the standard conditions of transfer of a pastoral lease by the existing partner(s). Eligibility will still need to be assessed in terms of the Foreign

Ownership Policy and the 500,000 hectare limitation. For further assistance please call the PLB Executive Officer, John Andrioff on (08) 9347 5126.

Accurate survey information of pastoral boundaries Pastoralists seeking accurate survey information on the boundaries of their pastoral leases for such activities as fencing, can contact Landgate’s Customer Services section. Initially, send a fax to (08) 9250 3187 providing the name of the station, plan number, name of the registered lessees and lease number(s), plus a contact name, address and phone number should Landgate need further information. You can also ring Landgate on (08) 9273 7333 and ask for a phone search. Landgate searches attract a basic search fee that increases depending on how much information you require. Additional information about Landgate’s products and services can be obtained by accessing Landgate’s website at: www.landgate.wa.gov.au

Upon Ministerial approval of a transfer, settlement can occur. An executed and stamped (stamp duty paid) Transfer of Land document will need to be submitted to the Pastoral Land Business Unit for endorsement of Ministerial consent and it can then be lodged at Landgate for registration. In circumstances where a partner in a pastoral lease wishes to sell his/her share to the other partner(s), prior Ministerial consent is also required.

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Changing your pastoral lease boundaries On many pastoral stations, geographical features affect the viability of developing remote parts of the lease area or make it difficult to fence on the surveyed boundary.

In some cases, just the shape of a boundary line can make it uneconomic to consider fencing. Neighbours quite often reach informal agreements as to the mutual use of a section of country or the on-ground position of a boundary fence. Where properties do not change hands, these agreements may endure for generations. In the last year we have seen a number of long-term pastoralists leaving the industry to retire. When a potential purchaser is looking over a property, these informal arrangements can come to light.

Why bother changing boundaries? It can never be assumed that a new owner will honour any informal agreements; they may move to reclaim part of a lease fenced into a neighbouring property.

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It is important to be aware that pastoral leases are Crown land and are not subject to adverse possession claims under the Transfer of Land Act 1893 (freehold land). In most cases, it is not a difficult process to formalise these agreements to everyone’s satisfaction. Depending on the circumstances, several sections of Part 7 of the Land Administration Act 1997 can be used to amend a lease boundary. Another time to consider boundary adjustments is when you are developing a future business plan for your pastoral enterprise. If you have a section of your lease which you believe you cannot work to its best advantage, it may be of greater value to a neighbour. It is possible to secure the Board’s agreement to sell a portion of the pastoral lease on the basis of amalgamation with a neighbour’s lease.

In some cases, it may be suitable to consider either a part or equal value exchange.

How to obtain approval In all cases, the first step is to obtain the written agreement of all your participating neighbours and have them also sign a plan clearly showing the boundary amendment. A good tool to assist in this is your pastoral improvement plan. A copy can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) office at South Perth on (08) 9368 3732. Then, you need to make a written application to the Chairman of the Pastoral Lands Board. If a large area is proposed for sale, the matter will be referred to DAFWA in the first instance, in order that it can consider whether the carrying capacity of your lease is not being reduced to a point where it may affect ongoing economic viability.


Pastoral Management News

» Pastoral Lease Management

Once all relevant information has been assembled, your application will be referred to the Board for a decision. If approved, survey instructions will be issued to Landgate for preparation of a new Deposited Plan. This is the most time-consuming part of the exercise and it may take several months before the plan is in order for dealing. When the plan is available, each participant will be asked to forward sufficient funds to cover the statutory fees. Currently, the fees are an $89 document preparation fee and a Landgate lodgement fee of $82. If a sale of land or a cross-transfer is proposed, you will be asked to employ your own conveyancer to prepare the transfer documents

Native Title Act Another issue to consider when amalgamating large areas from one lease to another is the provisions of the Native Title Act 1993. If it is decided that this Act applies to your proposal, then the term of your existing lease may not be greater than the term of the amalgamated lease, so for example, if your lease term is 45 years and the amalgamated part-lease term is 35 years, the term of your lease will be reduced to 35 years. If the term of the amalgamated lease is longer, there is no change.

Destocking a pastoral lease From time to time it may be necessary to destock a pastoral lease for a number of reasons, such as a run of dry seasons or when changing classes of stock. The Land Administration Act 1997 requires that a pastoral lease be managed and worked to its best advantage as a pastoral property. A pastoral lease must not be destocked without first obtaining permission from the Pastoral Lands Board. To get permission to destock, a pastoralist must apply in writing to the Board providing the reasons for destocking and the period the station will be destocked. The Board will not normally grant approval for a period greater than three years; however, it will consider extensions of time if the circumstances warrant. The application should address: • proposed maintenance of infrastructure, including water points, yards and fencing; • control management of pest animals and declared plants; and • details of restocking arrangements including timeframes and stock category. If the station is planned to be destocked for a considerable time, the Board may require a Management Plan containing an inventory of, and maintenance program for, current infrastructure before granting approval. The Board may also arrange an annual inspection or other occasional inspection to confirm compliance with the Management Plan. Applications to destock should be addressed to the Chairman, Pastoral Lands Board and may be emailed, faxed or posted to the Board at PO Box 1575, Midland, WA 6936. Enquiries can be made to the Executive Officer of the PLB on (08) 9347 5126 or email: plb@dpi.wa.gov.au

Applications for boundary adjustments should be posted to: The Chairman, Pastoral Lands Board, PO Box 1575, Midland 6936. If you are able to scan your plan, then you can send your application by e-mail. For further information, please contact the PLB Executive Officer, John Andrioff on (08) 9347 5122 or email: plb@dpi.wa.gov.au

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Station plans important for managing pastoral leases By Damian Shepherd, Manager, Client and Resource Information, Department of Agriculture and Food WA

Historically, pastoral infrastructure plans were drawn on film sheets, and maintained by the former Department of Land Administration (DOLA).

• the location of homesteads and other buildings;

In 1988, responsibility for this passed to the Department of Agriculture, and in conjunction with DOLA (now Landgate), these plans were captured digitally into Computer Aided Design (CAD) data.

• a range of topographic features such as ranges and breakaways.

The Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) now maintains this data using updates captured through pastoral lease inspections and rangeland surveys, and from updates supplied by pastoralists themselves. Plans like the one illustrated below can be generated from these data and are available to pastoralists from DAFWA. Standard plans include a range of information on lease infrastructure including:

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• tracks and fences; • stock watering points; and

Where rangeland surveys have been undertaken in the area, the plans can also be supplied with a map of ‘land systems’ - landscape units that contain a common pattern of landforms, soils and vegetation. These land systems are important for understanding land management issues on the lease, and for developing and implementing a Management Plan for the station.

New pastoral lessees New pastoral lessees may not have a station plan for their lease. They are strongly encouraged to get one, as

they will find the information on it invaluable in managing their pastoral business. Also, in cases where a lessee does not live on the station, they should ensure that their station manager has a copy of the station plan, to help them in effective on-the-ground decisionmaking. Please note that before plans can be made available to anyone other than the pastoral lessee, a release form must be signed by the pastoral lessee. To make a request for station plans and derived products (including digital data) contact: Client and Resource Information, Department of Agriculture and Food WA Telephone: (08) 9368 3925 Website: www.agric.wa.gov.au


Pastoral Management News

» Pastoral Lease Management

Agisting stock on pastoral leases Current dry conditions in some regions of the State are causing concerns about preserving both stock and pasture condition. One option may be agistment of stock on those pastoral leases that have experienced more favourable seasonal conditions over recent years and in general have good condition pastures. When considering approaches for agistment, you need to be aware that you need prior written permission from the Pastoral Land Board. Under the Land Administration Act 1997, the Board is required to ensure that pastoral leases are managed on an ecologically sustainable basis, so it needs to assess the effect of agistment proposals on the condition of the pastoral lease to be used. Obtaining permission is not difficult. All that is required is a letter to the Board providing particular details of the agistment proposal, including: • type of stock to be agisted; • number of stock involved; • duration of the agistment proposal; • statement on the current range condition and the numbers of your own stock; • whether the stock will be run together or kept separate; • where on the lease agisted stock will be located (whole of lease or individual paddocks);

• who will manage the stock; and • any other relevant management comments. Once the proposal is received, the Board will make an assessment using office records wherever possible. This will ensure a response in the shortest possible time. Applications for periods of more than one season or large numbers of stock will be referred to the Department of Agriculture and Food for comment in the first instance. Permission to allow agistment may be conditional and it is the pastoral

lessee’s responsibility to monitor the impact of additional grazing on the rangeland to ensure land degradation does not occur. The pastoralist must also advise of any subsequent changes to the initial details of the agistment supplied to the Board. Address applications to The Chairman, Pastoral Lands Board. You can post them to PO Box 1575, Midland, 6936, email to plb@dpi.wa.gov.au or fax them to (08) 9347 5009. For initial enquiries ring (08) 9347 5126 or email the Board’s Executive Officer at plb@dpi.wa.gov.au

Unpaid pastoral lease rents The Pastoral Land Business Unit uses the services of the Department for Planning and Infrastructure’s debt collection agency to recover unpaid pastoral lease rents, as well as any associated penalties. This action relates only to the unpaid rents and any associated penalties. Any other action that can be taken under the Land Administration Act 1997 in relation to unpaid rents, in particular prosecutions and forfeiture action, will be taken independently of any debt collection matter. If you think you will have difficulty in paying your pastoral rent account, contact our Accounts section immediately on (08) 9347 5145 to discuss alternative arrangements. Don’t just ignore our accounts, as action for collection of outstanding rent will be commenced if no alternatives have been discussed.

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Rangeland Condition Assessments Rangeland Condition Assessments (RCAs) provide invaluable information for pastoral lessees, including: • major land systems; • infrastructure; • carrying capacities; • stocking history; • a comparison of range condition trend with previous surveys and inspections; • seasonal conditions; and • details of any land management issues that may need to be addressed. RCAs are conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Food for the Pastoral Lands Board, to assist the Board administer the State’s pastoral leases. These reports are scheduled every six years; however, if there are issues of concern to the Board, inspections are carried out on a more regular basis. In addition, if a pastoral property is put up for sale and the RCA is more than three-years old, a new RCA is prepared.

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New pastoral lessees should ensure that they have a copy of the latest RCA for their lease, as they will find this, used in conjunction with a Station Plan (see article in this edition of Pastoral Lines) will be invaluable in effectively managing the pastoral lease.

Involvement of pastoral lessees in the RCA process Pastoral lessees or managers are strongly encouraged to accompany the Pastoral Inspector during at least some of the RCA field visit, so they can see how the inspection is conducted, contribute to the inspection process and have the opportunity to make comments about areas where issues have been raised. This is valuable interaction as it also allows the Pastoral Inspector to explain the assessment method to the pastoralist and gain relevant information about the lease. Also, a copy of the draft RCA is sent to the lessee, so that they can contact the

Pastoral Inspector with any comment before the RCA is forwarded to the Board.

What the Pastoral Lands Board does with the RCA The Board meets and considers the RCA. Depending on the content of the report, the Board may require the pastoral lessee to take action to address any issues of concern raised in the RCA. The Board sometimes requires the lessee to submit a Management Plan to demonstrate how a particular issue highlighted in the RCA will be addressed. If this is the case, it is essential to use both the RCA and the Board’s Management Plan guidelines to ensure that the issue that needs to be addressed is covered effectively and with commitments to timeframes. Follow-up inspections may be required to ensure that progress is made in implementing the actions as stated in the Management Plan.


Pastoral Management News

» Pastoral Lease Management

Lessees urged to pass on information to station managers In situations where pastoral lessees are off-site and they have a manager running the lease, there have been several instances where the manager does not know or has not been given important information in relation to running the pastoral lease. Some of this information relates to Board directives (such as the closure of a water point) or the lessee’s obligations in running the lease. With the manager not knowing what these directives, requirements or obligations are, the lessee may easily put themselves in a situation where they are breaching the conditions of the pastoral lease. This may lead to serious consequences.

Apart from Board directives, information that is vital to be passed onto the manager is: • any Diversification Permit; • the Rangeland Condition Assessment; and • the Station Plan. So that these lessees can make sure they are not breaching lease conditions and also so that their

Separate Annual Returns A reminder that two copies of blank Annual Return of Livestock and Improvements forms are sent out for each pastoral station. While it is recognised that some lessees may operate two or more stations as one, where multiple stations are managed together, a separate Annual Return must be submitted for each station. The exception to this is if the lessee has been given permission to run the multiple leases as a ‘pastoral business unit’. Where apportioning stock numbers for each lease is difficult, you are required to make an estimate. Separate Annual Returns assist the Board to use the statistical information to determine industry trends. The Returns allow the development of a picture of the grazing and infrastructure history of each station, which is important, particularly if one is later sold. In short, Annual Returns that amalgamate stock numbers for more than one station can not be accepted.

manager runs the pastoral lease and the business sustainably and effectively, lessees are asked to ensure their managers have a copy of all this information. To get a copy to pass on to your manager, or to update the station manager’s contact details (which we need for emergencies), please call the Pastoral Land Business Unit on (08) 9347 5126.

Diversification Permits Pastoralists undertaking a non-pastoral activity such as tourism, growing fodder or sowing nonindigenous pastures on their pastoral lease need to apply to the Pastoral Lands Board for a Diversification Permit. If you have a Diversification Permit, it is important for you to: • read it; • check your obligations and any restrictions stated on the Conditions of Permit; and • keep it in a safe place - it is an important document. For further information about Diversification Permits, call Brian Lloyd on (08) 9347 5126.

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Managing the stocking rate within the carrying capacity By Mark Alchin, Development Officer, Department of Agriculture and Food, Meekatharra

Just keeping up with the cost of production is a significant challenge for sustainability in the Southern Rangelands. While back-to-back good seasons somewhat ease the cost: price squeeze, the regular dry years puts considerable strain on the pastoral resource, as producers seek to maintain stock numbers and business cash-flow. For many producers, by the time adjustments to stock numbers are made, it is too late. In a bid to maintain productivity, the perennial ‘haystack’ that exists in the form of palatable shrubs and grasses has often been over-exploited during sequences of dry years. This has driven down the productive capacity of the rangeland and reduced drought resilience.

New approach In an attempt to pull the ‘circuitbreaker’ on this exploitative pattern of traditional management, a group of pastoralists explored a new approach. Without the previous buffer of perennial feed, a degraded resource now requires highly tactical responses to optimise production and allow potential regeneration. It was at the commencement of the current dry period in 2001 that pastoralists from the lower Murchison region recognised that it could no longer be ‘business as usual’.

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Long‑time pastoralists had again lost livestock during this most recent dry period. Many of the pastoralists had also been involved in the EMU project (Ecosystem Management Understanding) facilitated by Hugh Pringle and Ken Tinley, which alerted them to the severe impact that traditional management practices were having on their landscapes. In the Southern Rangelands, ‘average rainfall’ means virtually nothing, as the region is renowned for its ‘feastfamine’ pattern of seasons. The issue for these pastoralists was that they were not adequately mirroring their stocking rates within this substantial variation. Hence, they were often understocked in the good years and well overstocked in the dry years.

What was required was a new approach involving strategies that were managed in-sync with the landscape. Through the Gascoyne Murchison Strategy (GMS), many stations were equipped with Total Grazing Management (TGM) yards which gave them much-needed infrastructure to address the challenge, particularly in regards to the ongoing pressure from goats and kangaroos (as these are also elements of any stocking rate).

Productivity and rangeland condition trial With financial support from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), the group commenced


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a two-year demonstration trial with the goal of improving productivity and rangeland condition.

Measurable economic (i.e. gross margin/ha) and environmental goals (e.g. 20 per cent increase in desirable palatable shrubs and grasses within five years) were defined by the pastoralists and were used as the targets to manage towards. Monitoring of animal productivity (lamb marking percentages, weight gain, body condition score, faecal egg counts), rangeland condition (pasture monitoring sites), available forage, seasonal conditions and economic performance (gross margin per paddock) was conducted on two representative paddocks on each station. The seasonal conditions on all stations were below average throughout the trial. The following results are from one individual station managing a Damara enterprise and exemplify the type of information collected and the management strategies employed in response to the seasonal conditions and related available forage.

The results In November 2006, ewes (aged two to four years) were weighed (average weight: 52 kg), body condition scored (average BCS: 2.5) and their lactation status (wet or dry) was noted (lambing occurs all year round with a peak period between June to September). Lambs were weighed (average weight: 15 kg), sexed and tagged.

5.0

Body Condition score

The trial began in mid-2006 and involved four pastoral stations in the region. These included two Merino stations and two Damara stations (one was also managing a rangeland goat enterprise). Stations varied in size from 120,000 ha to 400,000 ha.

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nov ‘06 Feb ‘07 May ‘07

4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0

2yo dry

2yo wet

3yo dry

3yo wet

4yo dry

4yo wet

Figure 1: Change in body condition score of Damara ewes November 2006 to May 2007 ± 1 standard error bars illustrated. NB: the trigger point for management action was set at BCS 2; it is known that below this BCS livestock productivity is adversely impacted (particularly lambing/kidding/calving %)

Feed estimates in the paddock at the time indicated that there would only be sufficient forage for 48 days before animal performance would be compromised and/or range condition would be adversely affected. Due to management logistics and the lack of feed generally, livestock were left in the paddock for 78 days before they were moved in February into a new paddock. This had an expected impact on livestock productivity and rangeland condition, including a decline in BCS and lamb weight gains, the over-utilisation (+70%) of favourable perennial grass and shrub species and the breakdown of woody patches. Feed supply in the new paddock between February and May also was limiting (estimated 59 grazing days) and this resulted in a further decline in performance. Figure 1 illustrates the general decline in BCS of both the dry and lactating ewes between November and May 2007. The average decline ranged between 0.5 to 1 BCS. The average

weight gain of the lambs over this period was 65.8 grams/head/day. The lambing percentage for the trial flock was expected to be 120 per cent had feed conditions remained adequate. Following the May results, in the interests of business performance and rangeland condition, station management significantly reduced the trial flock numbers and conducted a major destock of the whole station.

Measuring to manage How does this approach contrast with the traditional approach? Usually, pastoralists would see the majority of their flock a few times a year and generally at a distance. Very little, if any, measuring/recording is done to determine how the production performance of the stock is tracking throughout the year. Similarly, little focused attention is made over the course of the year to determine if the available forage (quantity and quality) is sufficient to meet production goals.

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Continued over

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Managing the stocking rate within the carrying capacity »

Continued

Unfortunately, the ‘set and forget’ approach to stocking rates and vain ‘hope for rain’ often is a feature of traditional management. This approach fails to capitalise on the good seasons in preparation for the dry seasons. Not monitoring your management decisions is like driving a vehicle without checking the gauges. No matter how long we may resist looking at the temperature gauge, if it is overheating sooner or later there will be serious consequences.

In the pastoral case, the serious consequences may result in animal welfare issues, loss of income, irreversible landscape degradation, and human stress and depression. The future of the Southern Rangelands The future of the pastoral industry in the Southern Rangelands relies heavily on its capacity to demonstrate that it can operate viable businesses, while at the same time maintain or improve the condition of the public’s environmental asset.

Animal welfare and livestock transport By Christine Jones, Chief Inspector, RSPCA WA

Animal welfare is becoming increasingly important in terms of the potential impact on markets, farming practices and livestock health and productivity.

Exploitative practices of the past, are not only economically suicidal in the mid to long-term, they are also no longer socially acceptable. This trial has demonstrated the importance of taking a proactive approach to management towards your production and ‘landscape’ targets. You have to measure to manage, and establishing a simple monitoring framework that focuses on the components which drive business returns and range condition is a vital element of modern pastoralism.

Various interest groups are driving a growing awareness of welfare issues and consumers are demanding greater quality assurance. Transport and especially long distance transport of livestock is coming under increasing scrutiny. There are several initiatives to address growing concerns:

TruckCare Australian livestock transporters themselves have raised the bar on animal welfare, with the adoption of an independently-audited quality assurance scheme known as TruckCare that puts Australia at the forefront of world’s best practice. The scheme focuses on animal welfare and has the support of the RSPCA. It was developed by a range of stakeholder groups including the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, transport operators and industry organisations. Since its introduction in 1999, TruckCare has been adopted by approximately 10 per cent of the transportation industry. It has been revamped recently to incorporate even more stringent animal welfare

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guidelines that were launched in June 2007. TruckCare covers such areas as: • planning and contingencies; • how to deal with emergencies; • how to schedule journeys appropriately to ensure animal welfare outcomes; and • selection of livestock prior to transport, loading, transporting and unloading. The essential elements of TruckCare relating to animal welfare are: • correct preparation of livestock prior to pickup, i.e. operators encourage producers to ensure that animals are off feed and are settled prior to truck arrival; • loading facilities that promote a quiet movement; • the truck crate is well maintained, i.e. there are no holes or protrusions; • electric prodders are used sparingly; • drivers are trained in stock handling; • drivers manoeuvre the truck as smoothly as possible - sudden starts and stops are avoided where possible; • stock are kept on the truck for the minimum period of time; and • stock are checked during transit.

Australian standards and guidelines National standards and guidelines for the welfare of livestock in transport are currently being developed by Animal Health Australia (AHA) with funding from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This process involves wide-ranging consultations with industry, welfare organisations (including the RSPCA) and government stakeholders.

The standards and guidelines will cover the transport of livestock by road and rail. They will apply to the major commercial livestock industries in Australia, namely cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, alpacas, poultry, emus, ostriches, buffalo, deer and camels. The standards and guidelines are relevant to all those responsible for the care and management of livestock that are transported, including owners, agents, drivers and transport companies, as well as livestock handlers at pastoral stations, depots, saleyards, feedlots and livestock processing plants. There is a chain of responsibility for the welfare of livestock that begins with the owner or their agent and extends to the final receiver of the livestock. It is proposed that these standards will eventually become incorporated into legislation, thus making them legally enforceable minimum standards.

Is it fit to load? Is it fit to load? is a handy guide that has been developed in consultation with industry, the RSPCA and government stakeholders. It is a spiral bound glovebox-sized booklet that contains colour photos of examples of conditions that would render an animal unfit for transport. You can get free copies from District Offices of the Department of Agriculture and Food, or download a copy from the Meat and Livestock Australia website (see below), under ‘Livestock Exporters’.

Useful websites TruckCare: www.alta.org.au Animal welfare: www.rspcawa.asn.au Animal Welfare Act and Codes of Practice: www.dlgrd.wa.gov.au Livestock management and welfare: www.agric.wa.gov.au Is it fit to load?: www.mla.com.au Standards and guidelines livestock transport: www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au

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Det Sgt David Byrne (squatting), Det S/C Russell Drage and pastoralist Vaughan Barndon with a shot ‘mickey’ bull near Tallering Station - October 2007.

Rural Crime Squad By Detective Sergeant David Byrne, Officer-in-Charge, Rural Crime Squad

On 1 July 2007 the Police Stock Squad was renamed the Rural Crime Squad. The change is to better promote the role of police and in particular, this unit within rural communities in Western Australia. The Rural Crime Squad is the only ‘specialist’ investigation unit that focuses primarily on crime within rural areas specific to our pastoral and agricultural industries. It has a continued focus on, but is not exclusive to, livestock-related offences.

Reporting ‘killers’ Last year saw a rise in the number of reports to police about the taking of ‘killer’ cattle and sheep in pastoral and agricultural areas of Western Australia. The Rural Crime Squad, in association with local police in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Mid-West and South-West regions have successfully investigated instances where cattle and sheep have been shot, with all or part of their carcasses taken for human consumption. In each case, the people charged lived in towns or communities close

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to where the animals were taken. The Squad is most concerned that the offenders had been suspected of taking ‘killers’ for years, but these suspicions had not been passed on to police. Alerting police of suspicions or information regarding possible illegal activities may provide the piece of the jigsaw that brings offenders before the courts and reduces these crimes.

Helping police investigate the crime scene When a crime scene is discovered in pastoral areas, distance and time can result in crucial evidence being lost before police can attend. Pastoralists are asked to be proactive when a recent crime scene is located. Items such as cigarette butts and empty beer cans or bottles can provide fingerprints or a suspect’s DNA. A sample of hide or meat from the

‘killer’ can be DNA-matched to meat found later in a suspect’s freezer. Photographs of fresh tyre treads can be matched to suspect’s vehicles. If a scene is located and police assistance is not immediate, pastoralists are asked to take every opportunity to photograph the whole area first and then each individual item of interest in its place before moving anything. Gather items and bag them individually to avoid damage or cross-contamination. When taking photographs, use something as a reference point to establish the size of tyre marks (a ruler, envelope or can), with photographs taken from directly overhead. Keep a written note of the times, dates and items located. Such actions by alert complainants have assisted police in several recent investigations where those responsible were charged. If unsure as to what to do, contact local police and seek their guidance in dealing with any evidence. We ask that you take every opportunity to report all crime or suspicious behaviour to your local police station, the Rural Crime Squad on (08) 9370 9100 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. All information is treated as confidential.


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Relocation of Midland saleyards to Muchea By Dave Saunders, Project and Operations Manager, WA Meat Industry Authority

The relocation of the Midland saleyards to the Livestock Centre at Muchea is now underway and due for completion at the end of 2008. The project is being undertaken by the owners and managers of the Midland saleyards and the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority (WAMIA).

“We want to be able to attract more pastoral stock through the facility,” she said.

The Midland saleyard has been in operation for the last 98 years, providing pastoralists with a selling centre for their livestock.

“We will have a large transhipment area with a nine-way feather draft and bulk and individual weighing stations. Holding paddocks will also be available for longer stay cattle.”

Over this time, the saleyard has become dependent on pastoral cattle for its viability. Pastoral cattle currently provide up to 60 per cent of the saleyard throughput.

WAMIA has changed practices at Midland in preparation for Muchea through the establishment of a nominations hotline and the move to sale by category.

Through the regular Monday sale at the saleyards, pastoral cattle are purchased by graziers, live exporters and processors. In recent years, much pastoral stock has been processed and aggregated at Midland (independent of the Monday sale) for destinations such as live export.

“We want to be able to attract more buyers,” Ms Renata Paliskis-Bessell said.

Features of the new Livestock Centre

“Cattle that arrive well before the sale will be fed pellets.

“The main cattle area will have a capacity of 2000 head for sale and 1000 head for transhipment. The calf sale area, cattle receival and load-out areas will each have a capacity of 800 head.

“We are currently undertaking a round bale trial at Midland to be able to keep the feeding prices down for pastoralists. “With the livestock agents, we will be providing increased services to our pastoral clients, including extensive drafting of large mixed lines and extended stay for younger stock for special sales.”

Information Regular updates on the Muchea development are circulated monthly to WA Farmers, the Pastoralists and Graziers’ Association, Elders and Landmark. To receive the monthly circular, On the Road to Muchea, contact: Renata Paliskis-Bessell (08) 9274 7533 (renata@wamia.wa.gov.au) or Dave Saunders (08) 9274 7533 (dave@wamia.wa.gov.au).

The Livestock Centre will be located on a 300 ha block on Muchea East Road, Muchea, about one kilometre from the intersection of the Brand and Great Northern Highways. The main saleyard and cattle holding area of the Centre will be under about five hectares of roof, the cattle floor will be sawdust and water will be provided in every pen. Renata Paliskis-Bessell, WAMIA’s Chief Executive Officer said the design of the Centre had been created with animal welfare, operational flow, labour efficiency and occupational health and safety in mind.

Dividing fences You can download a copy of a very handy booklet about dividing fences by visiting:

www.dpi.wa.gov.au/pastoral and clicking on ‘Useful Links’ then ‘Help for the Homestead’.

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Livestock trespass Livestock trespass occasionally arises as an issue between pastoral lessees, and sometimes also between pastoralists and other landholders or land managers.

Generally, livestock trespass issues are determined within the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960. There are also provisions in the Crimes Act 1914 regarding trespass of livestock onto Commonwealth land, and under the Soil and Land Conservation Act 1945 in respect to any soil conservation reserve.

Impounding stock A local government may establish and maintain public pounds. It can appoint staff to manage them and it can also appoint rangers. Stock found trespassing on land may be impounded in the nearest public pound by the owner or occupier of the land or by a ranger.

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Where stock are not impounded, and it is proved to the satisfaction of a Justice of the Peace that it is not possible to impound the stock except at undue expense, and that the owner of the stock is unknown or cannot be found, the JP may order the destruction of the stock in a manner as he or she thinks fit. Where there is not a public pound situated within five kilometres of the land, or if the pound cannot fit all the

stock, the owner or occupier of land on which stock are found trespassing may impound the stock: (a) upon his land; or (b) by arrangement with the owner of any adjacent land, upon that land. This also applies to livestock found wandering, straying or lying upon the road abutting the property. The law says that a person impounding stock must take certain steps within 24 hours of taking that action:


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Cattle husbandry practices Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has released a Guide to Best Practice Husbandry in Cattle, which gives practical, easy-to-follow advice about various cattle husbandry techniques such as castrating, branding and dehorning. The guide also provides a number of alternatives for each procedure, including necessary equipment and maintenance, occupational health and safety considerations and animal after-care. View the guide now by visiting ‘Cattle producers’ at www.mla.com.au

(a) If the owner of the stock is known to him, advise of the impounding, together with details of: • the number and kind of animals impounded; • where they were found trespassing; • the sum claimed for the animals’ sustenance; • the sum claimed for damage, if any; • the name of the person who impounded them; and • the sum, if any, paid as rangers’ fees. Notice may be given at the last known place of abode of the owner. (b) If the owner of the stock is unknown to him, advise the nearest public pound keeper of the impounding, providing the same details as in (a).

Recovery of costs The law also says a person who impounds stock shall feed and maintain them while they are impounded. The owner or occupier who impounds the stock may claim and recover sustenance charges in addition to damages recoverable for the trespass of the stock on their land. After 72 hours, if the owner of the stock has not paid to the owner or occupier of the land who impounded the stock the amount of damages for the trespass of stock, together with the charges for the sustenance of the stock, the person may:

If stock found trespassing upon land has been impounded, the owner of the stock may pay any sums claimed for damage, sustenance, or rangers’ fees before the stock has actually been impounded. Upon payment, the stock shall be released. The 15th Schedule to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960 sets out fees for the sustenance of livestock while impounded and rates for damage by trespass. In all situations, pastoralists should consult with their local government before taking any action in relation to stock trespass. In addition, they may need to seek legal advice.

(a) impound the stock in the nearest public pound; or (b) arrange with the local government for the sale of the stock.

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Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management - ESRM Luke Bayley, Program Manager, ESRM

The rangelands of Western Australia cover a vast area and include many different land types. Those who make their living from these lands are equally diverse and have varying perspectives on what is the most effective way to manage pastoral lands. It is from this melting pot of experiences and ideas that future directions can be forged. People on the land know the reality of management and they must take a lead role in shaping rangeland development. It is from this basis that the Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management (ESRM) project has been developed. ESRM is an initiative of the Rangelands Coordinating Group. It has been developed by representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), Department of Environment and Conservation, Department for Planning and Infrastructure’s Pastoral Land Business Unit and members of the pastoral industry. It is jointly funded through DAFWA and the Natural Heritage Trust. The ESRM project has a steering committee comprising members from these groups, which set strategic directions. ESRM currently employs three staff: Karen Roberts, Kaz Johnson and Luke Bayley, all of whom are based in Geraldton. ESRM’s central aim is to work with pastoralists and other rangeland users to develop a more thorough understanding of the factors that drive landscape function, relate these to current management practices and assist in appropriate interventions to ensure longterm viability of pastoral leases. These interventions may be on‑ground works, training and business development, business restructure or changes in how and why decisions are made. It is an integrated project that aims to assist in streamlining delivery of information and funding to pastoral communities.

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The basis of the project

• develop individual property management plans, incorporating land management and livestock production; • develop and implement a monitoring program; • integrate and develop property management plans into an overall catchment management plan that will guide natural resource management and promote industry activities to the broader community; • identify key areas within the catchment that require treatment; • develop a works program to address issues that require attention; • identify sources of funding for on-ground works; and • coordinate and implement onground works.

Three assumptions underpin the ESRM project: 1. Significant areas of the WA rangelands will continue to produce food and fibre for domestic and international markets. 2. Land use and business diversification of certain pastoral leases is critical for economic, ecological and social viability. 3. Bio-diversity must improve across all catchments and underpins long-term economic viability of all rangeland enterprises. It is also worth noting that: • ESRM is as much a facilitation process as it is a technical advisory service, and has developed from the early Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU) project; • ESRM will rely heavily on the local expertise of pastoral families, regional business consultants and extension staff; • ESRM is building on the work that pastoralists, industry bodies, government agencies and extension staff have been involved with for over 50 years; and • ESRM is being rolled out in parts of the Southern Rangelands, with plans to develop similar models for the Pilbara and Kimberley.

The key components ESRM has seven core components: 1. Integrated catchment planning and works projects.

ESRM will work with a district group or sub-catchment to:

This is a holistic approach to catchment management that, if successful, could act as a model for further engagement with regions in the Southern Rangelands and the Pilbara and Kimberley regions.

2. Engagement with the mining industry.

ESRM also plans to work with the mining industry. Miners are major stakeholders in the rangelands and large gains could be made if they incorporated holistic land management plans and works over their entire pastoral leases. ESRM is contacting mining operations in the Southern Rangelands to meet with senior environment officers to gauge interest and potential mechanisms for rolling out ESRM within certain sectors of the industry.


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Staff from ESRM, the Department of Environment and Conservation, Barrick Mining and Ken Tinley discuss landscape function on Three Rivers Station - October 2007

3. Landscape planning for catchment repair with individual properties and community groups.

ESRM will adopt the popular and proven landscape mapping/learning exercise developed by the EMU team. This service is on offer to individual properties and groups in the rangelands.

stewardship payments for the management of certain land types for conservation. 5. Indigenous pastoral properties.

4. Biodiversity Conservation and Incentive Program.

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has acquired numerous pastoral leases, which provides some important opportunities to undertake monitoring and on-ground trials. It is anticipated ESRM staff will work under the direction of DEC staff to support research and community education events such as Rangeland Biodiversity Camps in the coming spring. Further conservation initiatives are also needed to support pastoralists who want to establish specific conservation areas on their lease and to explore new methods for pastoralists to receive

ESRM plans to work with a small number of interested indigenousowned pastoral leases that are also supported by DAFWA’s Indigenous Landholder Service project (see article in this magazine).

6. Future directions - initiating work with the top 25 per cent of pastoralists who produce the majority of food and fibre.

ESRM believes it is important to engage with the most progressive producers in the rangelands to develop ways to enhance and promote rangeland management and chart where the industry is headed. This component of the project will start with discussions and its form will take shape over the next year. It may involve contributing to existing forums and projects or leading new proposals. It is critical to foster industry

relationships and economic growth and ESRM needs to be part of these discussion and activities. 7. Livestock Management Plans and developing productive relationships with industry and other DAFWA programs.

It is critical that sustainable livestock management is integrated into the ESRM project. Currently DAFWA is finalising its livestock sustainability guidelines and ESRM is working with Mark Alchin, Development Officer, DAFWA Meekatharra, to ensure integration in the delivery of this tool. There are also many other grazing and livestock management systems in use across Australia and the world. ESRM, in conjunction with industry, will continually assess these for their effectiveness. The long-term vision is to assist in developing the widespread adoption of best practice for rangeland management in the various regions of WA.

For further information, contact Luke Bayley, Program Manager, ESRM on 0427 495 772 or email lbayley@agric.wa.gov.au

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EcoFire -

Fire management in the Kimberley By John Silver, Rangelands NRM Co-ordinating Group, Derby

The ever-increasing intensity and frequency of unmanaged fires in the Kimberley (and other areas of the WA rangelands) is having a significant impact on sustainable pastoral management, including productivity, biodiversity conservation, soil health, habitat protection, air pollution and carbon emissions.

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EcoFire project demonstration area

EcoFire is a NHT-funded pilot project aimed at reducing the frequency and severity of mid-to-late dry season fires in the central Kimberley. The project is using early dry season, low intensity fires to develop strategic fire breaks and stop large, uncontrolled wildfires. The EcoFire demonstration project commenced in 2007, with activities located on both sides of the Gibb River Road. This site was chosen due to its high biodiversity values, and differing land tenures and land uses. A proactive, coordinated and enthusiastic response from land managers has ensured a planned approach to fire management, so that when fires do start, appropriate control measures have been, or can be put in place.


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Aerial prescribed burning EcoFire has provided the resources to allow a planned, aerial prescribed burning program involving the 10 properties within the demonstration area. In 2007, about 606 000 ha or 22 per cent of the 2 820 000 ha demonstration area was burnt with a good network of fire breaks established. A number of bush fires were extinguished by the breaks this dry season. The Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group (RCG) developed the project in conjunction with a Kimberley-based steering committee. The contract for managing the project was awarded to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, based at Mornington Station. For a number of years, Mornington has been advocating planning and prescribed burning with neighbours.

Extremely successful

analyse the effectiveness of the firebreaks, by comparing the effect of the dry season bush fires within, and external to the demonstration area. The project hopes to demonstrate to the wider community, the ecological and economic benefits of managing fire using low intensity prescribed burns and strategic firebreaks.

The 2008 program will include at least five extra properties adjacent to the 2007 demonstration area that are extremely keen to join the project, as well as offering fire management training programs for interested land managers. For more information contact Dr Sarah Legge at Mornington Station on (08) 9191 4619 or John Silver on (08) 9191 0351.

Project Manager, Dr Sarah Legge said the 2007 prescribed burning program was extremely successful, with all participants being very supportive and positive and all wanting to be involved in future operations. “By the end of June, the demonstration area had never been better prepared for bush fires” she said. “Pastoral land and areas of Crown land managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation were involved with the exercise. “The project is evolving into a great example of cooperation between government agencies (e.g. DEC, FESA, RCG), non-government organisations (e.g. AWC) and the community.” In planning for the 2008 season, the Kimberley-based EcoFire steering committee will work with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy to

Clearing Since 2004, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has administered applications to clear land. All Notices of Intent to Clear Land previously assessed by the former Department of Agriculture lapsed on 8 July 2006. Pastoralists who previously notified the Department of Agriculture of their intention to clear land and either did not clear it or did not complete the intended clearing, must now contact their local DEC office if they plan to clear that land. A full article on clearing on pastoral leases was featured in the February 2007 edition of Pastoral Lines. For further information call Brian Lloyd at the Pastoral Land Business Unit on (08) 9347 5126.

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Promoting community and government partnerships in natural resource management By Scott Brain, Program Manager, Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group Inc.

The Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group (RCG) is an incorporated natural resource management organisation responsible for administering Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP) programs on behalf of the Australian and Western Australian governments.

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The RCG comprises a Committee of Management, representative of sub-regional groups (Ord catchment, Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne-Murchison, Goldfields-Nullarbor) and WA State Government natural resource management agencies. The Committee is responsible for determining the strategic direction and managing the governance arrangements of the RCG. It is supported by a Management Team responsible for operational requirements. You can communicate with the RCG through the Committee of Management members or the Management Team.

RCG Management Committee The Committee of Management has the following sub-regional and industry representatives: • Bill Mitchell, Chairman; • Elaine Gardener, Deputy Chairman, Ord Catchment representative; • Mark Halleen, Treasurer/ Secretary, Gascoyne-Murchison representative; • Peter Kneebone, Kimberley representative; • Mark Piggott, Pilbara representative; • David McQuie, GoldfieldsNullarbor representative;


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• Vacant, Indigenous representative; • Chris Chillcott, Department of Agriculture and Food representative; • Tony Brandis, Department of Environment and Conservation representative; • Laurie Caporn, Department of Fisheries representative; • Dave Munday, Department of Water representative; and • Nevin Wittber, Pastoral Land Business Unit, Department for Planning and Infrastructure representative. Membership of the RCG is open to all sectors of the community. Prospective members should contact their subregional group representative in the first instance.

RCG Management Team Management Team members are hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Food under a Memorandum of Understanding. Members are: • Brian Warren, General Manager, Carnarvon; • Chris Hand, Administration Officer; • Scott Brain, Program Manager, Carnarvon; • John Silver, Program Manager, Derby; • Kate Najar, Business Manager, Carnarvon; • Tim Thompson, NRM Facilitator, Kalgoorlie; and • Matt Reimer, NRM Facilitator, Kununurra.

Projects The Management Team administers funding for projects that protect priority natural assets, as identified in the Rangelands NRM Strategy. To determine the allocation of project funding, the RCG develops annual Investment Plans in consultation with the sub-regional groups and technical experts.

During 2007, the RCG managed 72 projects throughout the WA rangelands. These were delivered in partnership with a range of organisations, including State Government departments, private industry, universities and Land Conservation District Committees (LCDCs). The total funding allocated through the NHT and NAP programs was $18.7 million. A number of projects have been implemented in the Ord catchment, through NAP funding. These initiatives address issues associated with water quality, salinity and improved land management systems. The total investment in this area amounts to $7.8 million. Throughout the remainder of the rangelands, NHT 2 funding ($10.9 million) has been allocated through the three Investment Plans that have been developed. Some of the more significant project areas include: • ESRM (Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management); • EcoFire (Fire management in the Kimberley); • Management of invasive plants (mesquite, Parkinsonia, prickly acacia, tamarisk); • Management of invasive animals (camels, wild dogs);

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• Management of the RoderickWooramel, Fitzroy, Fortescue and Gascoyne catchments; and • Biodiversity management and protection. The RCG has also been responsible for ensuring the delivery of National Landcare Program activities, predominantly through the LCDCs and industry groups. Community Landcare Coordinators are located in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne-Murchison to assist with the development and delivery of such projects. Existing projects are required to be completed by June 2008. In some instances, projects will be extended for a further 12 months. At this stage, the RCG anticipates that after June 2008 a new program (NHT 3) will be implemented for a period of five years. This will require the RCG to develop annual investment plans in order to determine the allocation of funding. The RCG will be seeking to expand existing project areas and also develop other initiatives. The community consultation for this process will be managed through the sub-regional groups in the Ord Catchment, Kimberley, Pilbara, GascoyneMurchison and Goldfields-Nullarbor. Further information about these projects and the Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group can be found on the website www.rangelandswa.info

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The Shared Land Information Platform and natural resource information By Damian Shepherd, Manager, Client and Resource Information, Department of Agriculture and Food WA

The Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) is a cross-government initiative developed to simplify and improve the delivery and management of spatial (mapped) information to the community. Over the last three years, the Natural Resource Management (NRM) focus area of SLIP has engaged NRM state agencies and the NRM regional groups to make a wide range of data and information available to natural resource managers over the web. Until now, potential users of NRM data often needed to go through the lengthy process of determining the authoritative source of data on a particular theme, access the relevant data from a myriad of datasets by requesting a copy of the data, and then interpret these data to derive information useful to their requirements.

What information is available? For entry-level users, a web portal (or interface) called NRM Info has been developed to deliver information through the SLIP. NRM Info brings a range of separate datasets together ‘behind the scenes’ to create a series of information products (interactive maps and reports). These cover the whole of Western Australia including pastoral areas and the rangelands. A wide range of information is available on soils and soil landscapes,

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catchments, native vegetation, wetlands and other sensitive environments, rare and threatened flora and fauna, and marine and coastal environments. Other information on weeds and pest animals, along with rivers and waterways will also soon be available through this portal.

Freely available Access to NRM Info is free to all users. However, before being able to access it, a small plug-in tool for Internet Explorer will need to be downloaded. Users can then choose from a list of datasets or NRM themes, such as soils, vegetation etc. or zoom into the map to locate their own area of interest. The portal displays all relevant information available at a suitable scale. Maps can be printed and interactively queried to produce a range of reports - such as the area and types of native vegetation remaining in an area.

Through this collaborative project, over 40 new information products have been delivered to the community from various sources. In many cases, these have taken data that was previously unavailable or difficult and time-consuming to prepare, and made them available via the web. Together with a large range of existing information, NRM Info provides a comprehensive resource for the pastoral community. For more information contact: Shared Land Information Platform Natural Resource Management Department of Agriculture and Food WA Telephone: (08) 9368 3853 Websites: http://spatial.agric.wa.gov.au/slip https://www2.landgate.wa.gov.au/ slip/portal/home


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Environment

The Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act State Parliament has passed the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act). Drafting of the numerous regulations necessary to bring the BAM Act into effect could take about 12 months. As well, there is a need to undertake other preparatory work critical for the operation of the Act, including developing extensive lists of permitted and prohibited organisms and declared pests, and the training of inspectors who are to be appointed under the Act. This new Act consolidates 17 separate Acts into one, introduces a consistent approach in dealing with all biosecurity risks and addresses weaknesses in the capacity of existing biosecurity legislation to address these risks adequately. The implementation of the Act and the requirements of the biosecurity system will be overseen by a Biosecurity Council, which will replace the Agriculture Protection Board as the primary source of industry and community advice on biosecurity issues.

Recognised Biosecurity Groups The BAM Act will provide pastoral ratepayers with an opportunity to play a direct role in determining the focus of animal and plant pest control programs in the rangelands and the types of services to be delivered. Under the Act, the Minister for Agriculture and Food can recognise a group as a biosecurity group if it is established for a purpose which includes controlling Declared Pests in an area. The advantages of becoming a Recognised Biosecurity Group (RBG) is

that the group can receive funds from the Declared Pest Account to deliver pest control services on behalf of the ratepayers. The new arrangements recognise that if pest control programs are to be successful and effective, they must be managed at the local level and receive appropriate support and coordination from the State Government. The existing regionally based network of Agriculture Protection Board (APB) statutory advisory groups, known as Zone Control Authorities (ZCAs), will be abolished when the BAM Act comes into operation and RBGs will take their place. RBGs will be independent of government and must fairly represent the interests of ratepayers in the area. These groups will be able to develop their own strategic pest management plans and annual operational programs, and apply to the Director General, Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), for funding to meet the cost of pest control services. It is anticipated that five groups will become RBGs to replace the ZCAs that currently manage pest control activities on and in relation to pastoral lands. DAFWA will provide ongoing support for RBGs, as it has done for ZCAs, so they can effectively deliver coordinated animal and plant pest control programs to deal with longstanding problems in the rangelands, such as wild dogs, feral camels, foxes, mesquite and Bathurst burr.

Mesquite flowers

As the RBGs will manage public monies, they will be required to report on the use of any funds that are transferred from the Declared Pest Account and will have to comply with any corporate governance standards determined by the Director General. In keeping with the existing rating arrangements under the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection Act 1976, the BAM Act requires the Government to match dollar-fordollar any rate contributions that are collected. The combined funding is credited to the Declared Pest Account and applied for the control of Declared Pests in the area where the rates were collected. Consideration will be given to recognising two other biosecurity groups in the Ord River Irrigation Area and the Carnarvon Horticultural District. If no existing groups are recognised as the result of the call for expressions of interest, then DAFWA will assist pastoral representatives to form new incorporated associations to achieve recognition status. For further information, contact the Policy Officer, Biosecurity, at the Department of Agriculture and Food on (08) 9368 3830.

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Water management in the rangelands

An uncontrolled artesian bore.

High quality reliable water sources are critical for a sustainable pastoral industry. The Western Australian rangelands span highly diverse climates varying from the intense wet season of the north, to low intermittent rainfall in the southern and inland regions. Water resources have been of high concern in WA for decades and since 2006 state water reform has been aligning with the National Water Initiative (NWI).

Water reform The NWI recognises the importance of increasing the productivity and efficiency of Australia’s water use, ensuring efficient water services to

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rural and urban communities and protecting the health of surface and groundwater systems. In WA, the principles of the water reform agenda have been derived from the State Government’s three documents: • State Water Plan 2007

Benefits of water reform Water reform will ensure that West Australians have enough water for their long-term economic and social needs in a drying climate, as well as protecting the environment. Other benefits include:

• Western Australia’s Implementation Plan for the National Water Initiative 2007

• better management of water resources, so various and sometimes conflicting water demands can be met;

• Government Response to the Blueprint for Water Reform in Western Australia 2007.

• more accurate information about the amount of water available and how water is used;

These documents provide the platform for the integrated management of water in WA.

• a greater contribution by commercial water users to the costs of managing water resources;

The most significant change will be the replacement of the out-dated legislation the Rights in Water Irrigation Act 1914 with the Water Resources Management Act.

• improved water planning, allocation and use; and • more efficient use of water.


Pastoral Management News

»

WATER

Water resources management The Department of Water manages water resources through regional water planning and allocation planning. The State Water Plan 2007 will be supported by a range of regional plans that identify regional water issues and priorities. The government has committed to a significant investigations program and this research will contribute to robust water allocation planning decisions. Water allocation planning identifies the amount of water available while maintaining our environment and describes how this water can be shared among uses such as public water supply, industry and agriculture. Contribution of communities and stakeholders to water planning is an important part of state and regional water plans. When such planning is being conducted in your region, you are encouraged to participate in any workshops or information sessions, or send a written submission.

Water for pastoralists If your pastoral business only uses water for domestic and lowintensity stock watering, not much will change, even when the new legislation is finalised. The changes will have the highest impact where there are competing demands for high volumes of water, because these water sources require the most protection from potential environmental, social or economic impact of any potential future interruptions to supply. Contact your local Department of Water office for up-to-date advice.

A controlled artesian bore with tank, trough and solar panels which increase efficiency and enable water to be distributed elsewhere on the property.

Water for pastoral diversification activities If you have or are considering diversifying your pastoral business you will need a licence for any associated water use. Diversification Permit activities might include tourist accommodation, irrigated pasture, high intensity grazing or feedlots, horticulture, aquaculture, crops or tree farms. Licences apply to surface and groundwater, including artesian bores (but these vary from area to area). On receipt of your application, the Department of Water conducts an assessment which varies in complexity depending on the local hydrology, availability of water, volume required, competing water usage, sustainability of proposed use and potential impact on water-dependent ecosystems. If your application is for a large volume of water in an area where water is scarce or of irregular supply, you may need to demonstrate how you will efficiently use water and monitor your abstraction. In such instances, you may also need a hydrological assessment

to assist you to develop a ‘water use operating strategy’, which accompanies your licence as a set of management guidelines and commitments. Protection of rivers and wetlands in pastoral areas is also an important consideration for the Department of Water when commenting on diversification proposals, as certain introduced pasture species can become environmental weeds if not managed appropriately.

Contacts If you have any questions about water, contact your regional Department of Water office in • Kununurra (08) 9166 4100 • Karratha (08) 9144 2000 • Carnarvon (08) 9941 6100 • Geraldton (08) 9965 7400 • Swan-Avon Region (includes Kalgoorlie) (08) 6250 8000 • Esperance (08) 9071 6129. Further information is available at www.water.wa.gov.au

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Water supply grants for pastoralists By David Hillier, Manager, Rural Water Planning, Department of Water

Pastoralists have welcomed an increase in the maximum grant available under the Pastoral Water Grants Scheme (PWGS) to address on-farm water supplies, approved by the State Government in late 2006.

The Department of Water administers the Scheme, which has increased the maximum grant from $15,000 to $20,000 and reduced the financial contribution required from grant recipients from 50 per cent to 30 per cent of the cost of water supply improvements. Funding is allocated to projects such as the construction of dams, tanks, troughs, bores, windmills and pipelines. Since the introduction of the changes in 2006, the Minister for Water Resources has awarded 20 new grants totalling $270,000 to pastoral stations. This is more than a 50 per cent increase in the average number of grants allocated annually to pastoralists since the scheme’s inception in 1999. The 20 new grants have lifted the total number of grants awarded in the scheme to 99, with a combined value of almost $1.1 million. These grants are spread throughout all rangeland areas from Halls Creek in the Kimberley to Port Hedland in the Pilbara, Carnarvon in the Gascoyne, the Mid West and the Nullarbor.

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Pastoral Management News

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An 8000 m3 dam in Port Hedland.

Successful applications To be successful in applying for a grant, pastoralists must be able to demonstrate that new or improved water supplies would address known land management issues, or would prevent future degradation of vegetation and pastures. Pastoralists may be requested to provide relevant information from their Range Condition Assessment. Importantly, successful grant applicants will be required to report on the progress made in the restoration of overgrazed and degraded areas. Strategies must be in place to ensure overgrazing around newly established waters does not occur in the future. The desire to encourage improved grazing and land management in the rangelands is underpinning the scheme. The PWGS targets areas of overgrazing and land degradation by providing funds to improve the

availability and distribution of station water supplies. Grants are also allocated to improve homestead water supplies.

Are you eligible to apply? Commercial pastoralists holding leases in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne/ Murchison and Goldfields/Nullarbor regions are eligible to apply for grants under the PWGS.

What can be funded? Grants are available to establish new livestock watering points, upgrade existing watering points, reticulate and store water, and install and improve homestead water supplies. Projects eligible for assistance include construction and enhancement of dams and water catchment performance, drilling, casing and equipping of bores, piping, pumps and tanks, water treatment equipment and refurbishment of key water supply systems.

WATER

One-panel solar unit, 23 kL tank and trough in Derby.

What can’t be funded? The PWGS excludes grants for intensive industries such as aquaculture and horticulture and intensive animal enterprises such as feedlots. Station-stay businesses are also excluded.

When to apply Grant rounds under the scheme are offered three times each financial year, and close at the end of February, June and October. Technical Officers are available at the Department of Agriculture and Food’s District Offices throughout the rangelands to assist pastoralists to plan water supply improvements on their leases. More information on the scheme can be obtained by contacting the Department of Water on freecall 1800 780 300 or by visiting the Department of Water website www.water.wa.gov.au

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Two WA pastoralists in Nuffield 2007 scholarship winners Two young WA pastoralists have been named amongst 16 winners from around Australia of a 2007 Nuffield Scholarship. Annabelle Coppin, from Yarrie Station east of Port Hedland, received the 2007 scholarship supported by Co-operative Bulk Handling/CSBP. Annabelle will study how to improve the competitiveness of Australia’s live export cattle trade. Ben Forsyth, from Three Rivers and Bryah Stations north of Meekatharra, received the 2007 scholarship supported by the Sidney Myer Fund. Ben will investigate the most suitable cattle for maximum returns in the arid pastoral zone of inland Western Australia and also the potential for heat-adapted Bos taurus breeds and composites in the region. The 2007 Nuffield Farming Scholarship winners join an elite group of about 1,300 scholars worldwide. The scholarships are valued at $25,000 each and are supported by leading Australian primary producer and

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Annabelle Coppin

Ben Forsyth

agribusiness organisations. They give young Australian pastoralists and farmers the opportunity to travel internationally and explore agricultural issues and opportunities in a global context.

involve travel to China, North America, South America and Europe, investigating agricultural marketing and trade issues, environmental issues and experiencing the different social and cultural aspects of each region.

The scholarships are awarded to men and women who are judged to have the greatest potential to create value for themselves, their industries and their communities, and are awarded on the strength of the applicants’ vision, ability and determination to pursue their pastoral and farming goals.

International experience The 16 Australian Nuffield Scholars will be joined for one week by about 30 international Nuffield Scholars in Melbourne and rural Victoria, before leaving Australia in either February or June 2008 for a compulsory Global Focus Program. This will

They will meet with scholars from other countries including the UK, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and France, to exchange ideas and experiences, and join a network of people who are at the cutting edge of primary industry. Following the initial six-week program, the scholars will go their individual ways to pursue specific study programs in the country or countries of their choice. For further information on Nuffield Scholarships, call Nuffield Australia CEO Mr Jim Geltch on (03) 5480 0755 or visit the website www.nuffield.com.au


Features

Bob McConachy (DAFWA) and Robin Yeeda from Lamboo Station (near Halls Creek), discuss the coming mustering program.

Support to Aboriginal pastoral stations By Mark Chmielewski, Manager, Indigenous Agriculture, Department of Agriculture and Food WA

The joint venture between the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAWFA) and the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) to provide extension service assistance to Aboriginal pastoral stations throughout Western Australia has proved to be highly successful and growing in popularity over a short time.

As of December 2007, 53 Aboriginalmanaged properties throughout the State were receiving some level of assistance from the Indigenous Landholder Service (ILS) projects based at DAFWA. The two current pastoral-based ILS projects in operation are: 1 Kimberley Indigenous Management Support Service (KIMSS) 2 Pilbara Indigenous Management Support Service (PIMSS) The ILS projects are greatly increasing the profitability and sustainability of the Western Australian Aboriginal pastoral industry. The project enables Aboriginal enterprises to control their own employment, training, education and business management styles.

Economic independence and selfsufficiency are key factors in this project, with business models tailored to be implemented on country and within culture. Noonkanbah and Millijiddee Stations in the Kimberley are clear examples of pastoral properties that have significantly improved cattle numbers, herd management, business management and station infrastructure.

Relevant Outcomes Such improvements have been achieved often with large permanent communities present and were assisted through management and governance training courses

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Continued over

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Support to Aboriginal pastoral stations »

Continued

by adapting teaching styles, often delivered in language, on station and within an accepted cultural framework. While it is recognised that outputs of Indigenous-owned cattle enterprises fall below the financial benchmarks of the commercial mainstream sector, ILS projects recognise that additional sets of outcomes need to be met to satisfy the needs of a communal ownership group. Social, cultural and environmental outcomes are high priorities and can have a significant influence on enterprise development, community involvement and future sustainability.

Proven track record The ILS has a proven track record of working within this context, helping stations to achieve a balance and generate increased cattle production, improved herd management and greater income generation. A snapshot of the work done to date in the Kimberley indicates: • herd size on the leases receiving support from KIMSS has increased by 174 per cent • herd value has increased by 200 per cent. The ILS project focuses on one-toone extension service delivery across all areas of pastoralism, including:

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• • • • • •

direct technical extension; herd management practice; marketing; business and financial management; identified training needs; and governance training (depending on need).

Training Training forms a large component of the ILS service delivery and complements the technical aspects of station operations. Skills analysis of stations receiving ILS services help to identify, in partnership with the station community, the most urgent and immediate need for the stations to improve. All training undertaken is relevant to the station and relevant to the people learning, such as welding, repairs and maintenance on yards, low-stress stock handling, financial management, cashflows and record keeping. Over the last 18 months, 928 ILS participants have undergone some form of primary industries training in relation to their business across the State with a significant number achieving Certificates II, III and IV, and Diplomas in Beef Cattle Production and Agriculture. All training undertaken is to Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) standard

and matched to a structured learning pathway.

Self-determination The State and Commonwealth Government, through the ILC, have viewed the projects as necessary investments in order to assist remote land managers create independent economic streams outside of welfare, and help to maintain and create employment and training outcomes. In addition, the project supports the pursuit of self-determination and helps to build people’s capacity to become more self-sufficient, create greater selfesteem, pride and confidence. Currently, plans are underway to create a new service to assist those leases in the Mid-West, Murchison and Upper Gascoyne regions of the state where no ILS service operates. It must be recognised that ILS extension support services of this nature are only very recent, and they are geared towards longterm economic development. To put this into context, DAFWA has provided assistance and advice to WA pastoralists for over 100 years, which still continues strongly today. For further information, contact Mark Chmielewski on (08) 9956 8524 or email mchmielewski@agric.wa.gov.au


FEATURES

Review into industry training for Aboriginal pastoralists Sixty-one of the 517 pastoral leases in Western Australia are held by Aboriginal communities, giving Aboriginal people the opportunity to care for the land while providing access to the land’s economic potential. In September 2006, the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Alannah MacTiernan established a Taskforce to work on a Review into Industry Training for Aboriginal Pastoralists. The Taskforce was chaired by the Member for Central Kimberley-Pilbara, the Hon Tom Stephens. The Taskforce presented its final report to the Minister in October 2007. The report confirmed that pastoralism can act as a catalyst for broader economic development of Aboriginal communities in the rangelands by allowing Aboriginal people to use the land to produce significant income streams and employment opportunities. Equally importantly, pastoral stations can be ideal incubators for skills development, by allowing young Aboriginal people to pursue training and education opportunities close to their homes.

Challenges However, changed economic realities over the last 40 years have thrown up some very significant challenges to the future success of Aboriginal-held pastoral leases. The viability levels of many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal held pastoral leases have fallen, and developing alternative economic opportunities is essential to the longterm survival of the industry.

In addition, Aboriginal-held pastoral leases, on average, under-perform other leases on a range of commercial indicators. The underlying causes are complex, interrelated and unique to Aboriginal pastoralists, as they often reflect an inherent tension between community ownership on the one hand and the requirements of operating a commercial enterprise on the other.

Recommendations of the Review The Review highlighted the need for Aboriginal pastoral leaseholders to develop a range of land uses on their leases. It also stressed the importance for all spheres of Government to work together with Aboriginal communities and industry in realising the full potential of Aboriginal-held pastoral leases. The key initiative recommended is to establish an Indigenous Pastoral Enterprise Development service. This service was announced on 20 August 2007 by Premier Alan Carpenter in his statement on Indigenous Employment Opportunities. It will be a collaboration between the Pastoral Lands Board, under the Department for Planning and Infrastructure and the Office of Aboriginal Economic Development (in the Department

of Industry and Resources). This service will work with Aboriginal pastoral leaseholders to broker changes to pastoral tenure, to increase land flexibility and to encourage the development of a range of appropriate businesses on pastoral lands held by Aboriginal interests. The Review recommended two further strategies: 1. Overarching changes to pastoral tenure generally, to increase land-use flexibility and foster the development of environmentally responsible, profitable businesses on Aboriginal-held pastoral leases. This would require broadening permissible land uses on pastoral leases. 2. The establishment of a suite of leadership, training and skill development initiatives based around the Aboriginal pastoral estate, for Aboriginal youth emerging from school and entering the labour force. This includes the establishment of a training brokerage service, an Aboriginal youth leadership program and residential traineeships focusing on job readiness. For further information, contact Karel Eringa at the Department for Planning and Infrastructure’s Indigenous Pastoral Enterprise Unit on (08) 9347 5129 or email karel.eringa@dpi.wa.gov.au

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New opportunities for tropical and pastoral agriculture By Chris Ham, Department of Agriculture and Food WA

The Department of Agriculture and Food’s New Opportunities for Tropical and Pastoral Agriculture (NOTPA) program is assisting pastoralists to diversify their operations in the future. The NOTPA program has been running since June 2005 and is focussed on the development of the pastoral, agricultural and horticultural enterprises in the West Kimberley and Pilbara regions. It services a wide client base including Aboriginal entrepreneurs and family groups, pastoralists, horticulturalists, agri-business, other State Government departments and non-government organisations.

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The services provided by the NOTPA program range from assistance to developing Diversification Permit applications, guidance on how to apply for research funding, advice on a wide range of agricultural and horticultural issues and assistance on how to monitor productivity and performance.

Assistance to pastoralists with diversification Recently, NOTPA completed a benchmarking study of the region to gauge a better understanding of the issues that stakeholders need to manage, and to assess the future development requirements. One key group consulted was pastoralists, who viewed expansion and diversification of industries in the region as a key driver for the future. Of particular interest was hay and/or fodder production, with the aim of boosting annual productivity

and maintaining live weight during transport. Through the NOTPA program, work has already begun in this area. Several pastoralists have found the help and support provided very valuable in applying for a diversification permit. Other pastoralists, with existing infrastructure, are also looking to maximise their productivity and are seeking help and advice. The NOTPA staff can provide assistance with accessing information on new business and diversification opportunities, as well as providing networking and planning opportunities with other people who are looking at or working on similar projects. Assistance can also be provided with drafting business plans and providing information on the correct approvals processes. Economic support to calculate the inputs, timeframe and financial


FEATURES

Landgate:

A one-stop shop for pastoralists Pastoralists now have access to a range of Landgate products and services that can give them the knowledge they need to get the most out of their land. Landgate’s Information Access Executive Director Mike Bradford said the expanding range of products available to pastoralists were proving valuable and increasingly popular.

“This can translate into huge savings as it gives pastoralists instant access to a wide range of information relating to the productivity of their land.

“For instance, FireWatch is a product that has a range of applications,” he said.

“Essentially, they can tell at a glance what parts of their property were better suited to grazing stock at any particular time of the year.”

“It not only contains valuable information on fire hot spots and lightning strikes, it also gives pastoralists information about the level of vegetation on their properties. “This information can be used to manage stock levels, make grazing decisions, compare paddock coverage to improve performance and allow pastoralists to prepare grazing plans and budgets.

Mr Bradford said Landgate was currently in preliminary discussions regarding the use of satellite imagery to gauge the amount of edible vegetation that was present on a particular property. “This sort of information would be particularly useful around April, at the beginning of the dry season,” he said.

Vegetation Watch considerations of the investment and agronomic advice and ongoing monitoring and management of the proposal is also provided through NOTPA. The NOTPA staff are based in a number of locations across the Kimberley region and they are more than happy to provide advice. Their contact numbers and locations are listed below. Staff member

Key role

Contact details

Chris Ham Broome

Project Manager

(08) 9194 1424 cham@agric.wa.gov.au

Kevin May Broome

Indigenous Coordinator

(08) 9194 1430 kmay@agric.wa.gov.au

Steve Lucas Broome

Technical Officer

(08) 9194 1429 slucas@agric.wa.gov.au

Leonie Wilson Broome

Development Officer

(08) 9194 1400 lwilson@agric.wa.gov.au

Francis Bright Kununurra

Regional Economist

(08) 9166 4016 fbright@agric.wa.gov.au

Mr Bradford said further satellite imagery, which is accessed through the agency’s Satellite Remote Sensing Services, was also available to pastoralists. “Landgate’s Vegetation Watch uses near-real-time satellite imagery to provide a range of information crucial to maximising profits and margins on the land,” he said. ”It can measure the ‘greenness’ of a pasture by reading foliage density and provides weekly composites of daily images for pasture comparison purposes.” These products, along with a range of other initiatives, were all designed to provide West Australians with the best and most accessible land information. Landgate is the statutory authority responsible for Western Australia’s land and property information and its transition from the Department of Land Information came into effect on January 1, 2007. As the organisation’s core business is land and property information, Landgate also gathers geospatial data from ground surveys, aerial photographs and satellite imagery. This information is used to produce a wide range of digital and hard copy products and services. For more information on any of Landgate’s products and services, visit www.landgate.wa.gov.au

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Pastoral lease market sees a decline from previous year The past financial year saw a decline in the transfer of pastoral leases, with the figure falling from 43 in 2005-06 to 24 in 2006-07. Landgate’s Valuation Services District Valuer (Country North Region) Chris Olsen said the 24 transfers (representing five per cent of total leases) excluded so-called ‘non-armslength transactions’ such as those that occurred between family members and those associated with trust dissolutions. “During this period, the Department of Environment and Conservation added to its conservation reserves with the purchase of three complete leases, as well as several smaller portions of existing leases,” he said. “In addition, four leases were purchased by mining companies.”

Limited supply Mr Olsen said the decrease in the number of transferred leases pointed to a limited supply rather than reduced demand. “Demand for cattle leases remains strong with a limited supply of commercial size leases available for purchase,” he said. “This was evident by only four transfers occurring in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions. Strong demand for cattle leases and a lack of supply have seen values rise significantly in the past few years. “Increases in values for traditional sheep leases in the Southern Rangelands have been limited to the larger, well-located leases with demonstrated positive cash flow.” Mr Olsen said values remained stagnant for leases in areas of below average rainfall and where the option of converting to cattle was not available.

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“With persistent low wool prices, the trend continued for buyers to convert from sheep to cattle where the rangeland permitted, or to convert to meat breeds or goats,” he said. “Demand continued for smaller nonviable leases used for residential, lifestyle and grazing purposes, particularly those with reasonable homesteads located close to a regional centre.

Diversification Permits The past year also saw an increase in the number of pastoral lessees seeking to establish irrigated fodder production areas through the use of Diversification Permits. Centre pivot irrigation systems are being established to help droughtproof properties and to ensure consistent finishing weights.

“Purchasers of these leases are quite often semi-retired people or those employed by local mining companies.”

Mr Olsen said Diversification Permits attracted a market rental, which was in addition to the pastoral rent.

Mr Olsen said buyers of larger, more commercially viable leases came mainly from the pastoral industry but also included South-West farmers looking for additional grazing land.

“For buyers who are new to the industry, pastoral leases are most commonly sold on a ‘walk-in, walkout’ basis which includes the lease and all fixed improvements,” he said.

“The sale of two Kimberley leases and subsequent on-sale of breeding stock via a managed investment scheme was the first scheme of its kind in Western Australia,” he said.

“This also includes stock and all moveable plant and equipment required to operate the lease.”

“The tax deductibility status of such schemes has been a prime motivator for potential investors; however, a recent Australian Tax Office ruling has since removed this option for schemes not related to forestry.”

Mr Olsen said a less common form of transfer was on a ‘lease and improvements’ basis, also known as a ‘bare’ basis. This includes the lease and all fixed improvements, but excludes stock and moveable plant and equipment.

Sales of pastoral leases in Western Australia (July 2006-June 2007) Area

Type

Sales

Kimberley

Cattle

2

Pilbara

Cattle

2

Southern Rangelands

Cattle

4

Southern Rangelands

Sheep

16

Total

24


FEATURES

Harvesting dead sandalwood in the GascoyneMurchison Western Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) is a small parasitic tree widely distributed throughout the rangelands of Western Australia. The heartwood contains a highly valued aromatic oil that is used by people of various cultures throughout the world.

Western Australia has exported sandalwood since 1845 and has supported a WA-based oil extraction industry for perfumery and other essential oil uses for the past 20 years. The Forest Products Commission (FPC) is the organisation responsible for managing the State’s forest resources, including sustainable sandalwood harvesting from Crown land and pastoral leases. Most pastoralists throughout the western rangelands would be aware of the occurrence of dead sandalwood on their pastoral leases. The FPC is now offering pastoralists in the Gascoyne-Murchison an opportunity to harvest and regenerate dead sandalwood in a mutually beneficial program that utilises valuable deadwood resources while establishing future sandalwood regeneration.

What is involved in harvesting dead sandalwood? Harvesting requires pastoralists to collect dead sandalwood from their lease. This can take place

over a contracted year, which can be extended, depending on the resource available. 10 to 20 tonnes of sandalwood can be made available per year; however, where the resource is limited, smaller portions of collected deadwood can be arranged.

Where the lease’s dead sandalwood resource is significant (10 tonnes or more) the FPC may fund additional control measures for stock and unmanaged goats, such as fencing materials and trap yards. This will assist with future regeneration activities.

Dead sandalwood is stockpiled at the homestead, trimmed into product grades and stacked into the FPC-supplied pallets, bins or bulker bags. The FPC can also include in the contract payment system the option for the pastoralist to cart the prepared sandalwood to the Wescorp factory in the Perth suburb of Bibra Lake.

The rate offered to pastoralists by the FPC for dead sandalwood harvesting will include the collection and preparation of wood into products and seed collection and planting.

Regeneration work involves the planting of one kilogram of collected sandalwood seed per one tonne of deadwood harvested. As sandalwood is very palatable to stock, attempts to regenerate sandalwood will occur only on leases where unmanaged goat numbers are controlled and authorised stock are well-managed.

Dead sandalwood harvesting and regeneration practices under a FPC contract will be supervised by a FPC Operations Officer. The FPC now has an operational office in the GascoyneMurchison region, at the Department of Agriculture and Food in Carnarvon. Interested pastoralists seeking further information should contact Dave Evans, Operations Officer, at the Forest Products Commission, Carnarvon on (08) 9941 9430 (mobile or satellite 0410 414 434) or the Forest Products Commission’s Harvey office on (08) 9729 2888.

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Rangeland survey reports By Peter-Jon Waddell, Rangeland Survey Team Development Officer, Department of Agriculture and Food WA

The rangeland survey team conducts regional surveys and condition assessments throughout Western Australian pastoral leases, providing inventory and descriptive references of rangeland land resources and developing land system maps. Currently, the rangeland survey project is a joint project with staff from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) and Landgate (formerly the Department of Land Information). Rangeland survey reports provide detailed accounts of survey methodology, geomorphology, soils, vegetation, site ecology, land systems and the resource condition of survey areas, as well as reviewing background information such as land use history, climate, geology and declared flora and fauna.

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Conducting a rangeland survey.

These reports provide an invaluable tool for rangeland stakeholders including pastoral, mining, conservation, research and government organisations to help them better understand rangeland landscapes and assist in their management and administration, and in particular, how grazing systems relate to the different components of land systems.

Getting a rangeland survey report Under the Western Australian rangeland survey program, 12 rangeland surveys have been completed. Reports are sent to each pastoral station when published; however, with changes in station management occurring across the rangelands, there may be stations where the


FEATURES

original report has disappeared. If you are interested in a free report covering your area in one of the regions mentioned below, then please contact the rangeland survey team. Please allow a month for delivery in case we are conducting field work. Available reports are listed below. • The Murchison survey was published in 1999 and covers the area of Curbur to part of Yarlarweelor in the north and Bullardoo across to Wondinong in the south. The complete title is: An inventory and condition survey of the Murchison River catchment and surrounds, Western Australia, (WA Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin No. 84). • The Sandstone-Yalgoo-Payne’s Find survey was published in 1998 and covers the stations from Wandina in the west to parts of Yeelirrie in the north-east and Wanarra in the south-west, to Diemals in the east. This report also has a separate pastoral management publication for pastoralists and land managers. The two publications are called: An inventory and condition survey of the Sandstone-Yalgoo-Payne’s Find area, Western Australia, (WA Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin No. 90) and Pastoral Resources and their management in the SandstoneYalgoo-Payne’s Find area, Western Australia, (WA Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication 1/98). • The North-Eastern Goldfields survey was published in 1994 and covers the stations from Perrinvale in the west to White Cliffs in the east and parts of Yeelirrie in the north-west to Edjudina in the south-east. This report also has a separate pastoral management publication for pastoralists

EPIRBs Did you know that the older analogue-type Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (or EPIRBs) working on 121.5 MHz will no longer be detected as from February 2009? The new digital 406 MHz EPIRBs are more accurate, are detected more quickly and can identify their owner. For more information on EPIRBs, visit:

www.amsa.gov.au and click on ‘Beacons’. If you accidentally activate your EPIRB, turn it off and immediately call 1800 641 792 There is no penalty for accidentally setting off your beacon.

and land managers. The two publications are called: An inventory and condition survey of the North-Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia, (WA Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin No. 87) and Pastoral Resources and their management in the North-Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia, (WA Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication 22/94). • The Carnarvon Basin survey covers stations from Ningaloo to Towera in the north to Tamala and Coburn in the south and was originally published in 1987. The complete title is: An inventory and condition survey of rangelands in the Carnarvon Basin, Western Australia, (WA Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin No. 73).

Nullarbor survey At present, the rangeland survey team is completing the inventory and condition survey of the Western Nullarbor region. With most of the field work completed, the Western Nullarbor survey report is currently in preparation. This survey continues on from the 1974 survey of the eastern part of the Western Australian portion of the Nullarbor Plain and includes the Roe Plain and southern areas outside the pastoral leases. Survey team members are also compiling information for the publication of a technical bulletin on the Lower Murchison region, an area that was previously surveyed but remained unanalysed. For further information please contact Peter-Jon Waddell at DAFWA on (08) 9368 3421, Peter Hennig at DAFWA on (08) 9892 8495 or Ken Leighton at Landgate on (08) 9273 7130.

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Telemetry in the pastoral industry By Adrian James, Project Officer, Desert Knowledge CRC, Alice Springs

Telemetry. It’s a word you’ve probably heard before. When it comes to pastoral production, telemetry refers to monitoring and controlling station assets remotely, usually by UHF radio. There is a range of companies manufacturing pastoral telemetry systems in Australia, and their products usually include abilities to remotely: • monitor water levels in tanks, dams, turkey nests and troughs; • turn pumps on and off, and monitor pump performance and water flows;

Telemetry at De Rose Hill Station, South Australia.

• control and monitor water medicators and rain gauges; • monitor vehicle speed and location; • control and monitor electric fences; and • take and transmit photos.

Costs and benefits of telemetry Telemetry radios are shoebox-sized, solar-powered and weatherproof. They are usually installed on tanks with extra equipment connected by cables, with some companies introducing local wireless connections. The basic cost per site varies between $1,500 to $4,000 depending on

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the product, ease of installation and number of add-ons. In-vehicle controllers and repeaters for hilly country can add $1,000 to $2,000. A simple home or office computer is needed to run the network and when connected to the Internet, allows for on-line management. The advantage of using telemetry is the ability to lower the cost of production. Whenever station staff travel out to a remote location to check water levels or start a pump, it costs time and money in labour, fuel and vehicle maintenance.

Most telemetry systems operate on free UHF channels, so doing a bore run via telemetry will take 30 seconds and cost nothing. In typical aridzone pastoral situations, a telemetry investment will pay for itself in less than 12 months and free up several hours of labour each week. Some telemetry systems allow for remote cameras to be installed to ‘back up’ what the system is reporting. The cameras can also be used to see if anything is stuck in a trough. However, not all pastoralists and telemetry companies believe cameras


FEATURES

are necessary. Monitoring pump operation, water flow rates and tank levels usually provides a pretty solid concept of what’s happening at a remote water point and whether anything is wrong. It is important to remember that bores must still be visited to clean troughs, refuel, check belts etc., but with telemetry, the visits can be much less frequent. Another advantage of telemetry is the constant monitoring which occurs and not just when someone is at the bore. If a tank springs a leak shortly after you visited, it may be three days before you discovered the problem. A telemetry system would detect the problem and send you an alarm immediately. This would then allow you to travel out and fix the problem. Telemetry systems are usually very reliable. At S. Kidman and Co’s Quinyambie Station, a large cattle property in the Strzelecki desert in South Australia, a telemetry network has been in use for three years and only suffered a few minor problems while saving over $80,000 a year.

Australia, recovered its costs in six months. Napperby Station, a 5,400 square km cattle property near Alice Springs, recently installed one of the biggest telemetry networks in the country, and expects net savings after 18 months. Its recovery period is longer because the network is very comprehensive with lots of water medicators, as well as rain gauges and cameras. The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre’s (DKCRC) 21st Century Pastoralism™ project is analysing the costs and benefits of pastoral telemetry over a two-year period, as well as developing new tools for remote management. DKCRC held a field day at Napperby Station in October which demonstrated a telemetry network, remote automatic cattle weighing and drafting systems, and a remote video monitoring prototype. The project has also produced a telemetry cost recovery calculator. This is available on the project website, and is a simple computer spreadsheet which can

provide pastoralists with a rough idea of the costs and savings associated with investing in a telemetry system. It’s a good place to start if you’re thinking about telemetry and can be found at: www.desertknowledgecrc.com.au/ research/pastoralism.html For more information, contact: Adrian James, 21st Century Pastoralism™ Project Officer, Desert Knowledge CRC on (08) 8951 8155 (mob 0427 189 676) or email: adrian.james@nt.gov.au 21st Century Pastoralism™ is a Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre project. The project partners are: • Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines; • Sheep Cooperative Research Centre; • Observant Pty Ltd; and • The University of Wollongong.

Recouping the cost Telemetry has been used for both sheep and cattle production for many years, and is gaining in popularity as the systems prove themselves, and pastoralists realise the economic advantages. While telemetry can offer advantages to all production systems, it is of the biggest benefit to large landholdings in arid country where the conventional method of monitoring and controlling station infrastructure carries high costs. Quinyambie Station recovered the cost of installing its telemetry network in four months, while Mt Ive, a sheep station in the Gawler Ranges of South

Aboriginal sites You can find out if there are any registered Aboriginal heritage sites on your pastoral lease by going to the Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register on our website:

www.dpi.wa.gov.au/pastoral and clicking on ‘Useful Links’ and then ‘Useful Government Links’.

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A forecasting office circa 1920.

Centenary of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology 1908-2008 This year the Australian Bureau of Meteorology celebrates its centenary as a Commonwealth Government Agency.

floods of 1955, the Black Friday and Ash Wednesday bushfires, the 1974 devastation of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy and Australia’s costliest-ever natural disaster, the Sydney hailstorm of April 1999.

The Bureau began operation as a national organisation on 1 January 1908 and was established by the Meteorology Act 1906, which consolidated the separate Colonial/ State Meteorological Services.

It is a story of round-the-clock data collection by tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers in far-flung observing sites, of the acclaimed weather support of the RAAF Meteorological Service for south-west Pacific operations through World War II and of the vital role of the post-war civilian Bureau in the remarkable safety record of Australian civil aviation.

The Bureau is an integrated scientific monitoring, research and service organisation which is responsible for observing, understanding and predicting the behaviour of Australia’s weather and climate. It provides a wide range of meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic information, as well as forecasting and warning services to the Australian community. The century-long history of the Bureau and of Australian meteorology is the history of the nation itself - from the Federation Drought to the great

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It is a story of outstanding scientific and technological innovation and international leadership in one of the most inherently international of all fields of science and human endeavour. Although always headquartered in Melbourne, the Bureau has, from its origins as a federation of state-based agencies, epitomised the successful working of the Commonwealth with

a strong operational presence in every state capital and a strong sense of identity with both its state and national functions and responsibilities. In seeking to provide integrated meteorological and related support for the many weather and climate-sensitive state government responsibilities, the Bureau has played a particularly active role in support of agriculture, environment, water resource management and natural disaster mitigation.

Staff spread far and wide The Bureau has approximately 1400 specialised staff at some 60 offices around Australia, its offshore islands and Antarctica. They monitor the behaviour of the atmosphere, oceans and inland waters, carry out research into the mechanisms of Australian weather and climate and provide a wide range of weather, climate and related environmental services to all sectors of the Australian community as well as to international shipping and civil aviation.


FEATURES

The Bureau also relies on its extensive network of volunteer observers, and there are some 6000 rainfall observers around the country contributing vital information to the Bureau’s observing network. Reflecting on the last 100 years of the Bureau, a major theme is the way in which technological development has enabled the Bureau to improve its forecasting services. Long distance radio messages were sent for the first time in 1908, radar first appeared in a primitive format in 1917, the first computer forecast was produced in 1950, and the first satellite image for weather purposes was received in 1960.

Improved accuracy With each one of these developments there has been an increase in both forecasting skill and forecast period. As recently as 1990, a forecast was valid for only two days, whereas nowadays the state capitals receive a seven-day forecast of weather and temperature. Skill levels have also improved, with four-day temperature forecasts now being as accurate as the 24-hour forecasts produced 20 years ago.

A modern-day forecasting workstation.

The only certainty in weather forecasting is the atmosphere’s chaotic nature, but with the use of increasingly sophisticated computer models, advances in satellite imaging techniques and the skill of its staff, the Bureau is well equipped to meet the community’s demands for accurate and longer weather forecasts in the future. For further information, visit www.bom.gov.au

Safe use and management of 1080 If you are interested in conducting 1080 baiting programs, you should know that the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) has developed a new training course. Individual and group training will be provided by DAFWA for landholders who aim to use 1080 poison baits. The new course covers safety and first aid, reducing risks to non-target species and the legal requirements for transporting, storing and laying these baits. The training will ensure all landholders are competent and skilled in the safe use and management of the baits. The new training standard does not replace the current 1080 baiting application process and DAFWA Biosecurity Officers will continue to conduct risk assessments on each individual application.

The structured training helps clarify landholders’ responsibilities for conducting a 1080 baiting program. Biosecurity Officers must be satisfied that each individual landholder has adequate knowledge to use 1080 poison and, at the completion of training, participants will be accredited as safe users and managers of baits. The new course has been developed in close consultation with the Department of Health, to ensure the safe use and management of 1080. 1080 (also known as Sodium Fluoroacetate) is a highly poisonous substance used to control agricultural and environmental pests. It was

introduced to Australian rabbit control programs in the early 1950s. Since then, it has been adopted to control many other declared species including foxes, wild dogs and feral pigs. The 1080 Landholder Information Packages for the safe use and management of 1080 and the new training standard can be accessed from the website www.agric.wa.gov.au You can get further information from your local DAFWA office, or officers at the Biosecurity Training Unit on (08) 9366 2379.

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Wild dog management in the rangelands - an update Wild dogs are a major issue in the pastoral areas and eastern fringes of the Wheatbelt. The problem had increased since the early 1990s for various social and economic reasons, but measures are gradually being implemented to help combat the problem. In the past year, the five pastoral zones have developed their own regional wild dog plans. This involved identifying the best control measures based on a ‘nil tenure’ approach, which means working out the optimum control on what needs to be done and where, based on a ‘non-boundary’ outlook. While a united effort has been made by individual property owners and managers of Crown reserves to address the problem, more needs to be done in some areas. There has been a trend towards station sizes increasing, but staffing levels have been decreasing and consequently, it is often hard for pastoralists to find the time to carry out baiting and trapping activities. Because of this, the Western Australian Rangelands Wild Dog Management Policy was endorsed by the APB in June 2007. It is anticipated to take up to a year to implement.

Responsibility for dog control The policy reinforces the fact that each landholder is responsible for the control of wild dogs on their property and stipulates the level of control depending on the type of stock they and their neighbours are running. A property running sheep and goats requires more stringent wild dog control. Neighbours of sheep/goat properties are also required to carry out wild dog control at a higher level, compared to cattle properties. Responsibility for wild dog control rests with all land managers. Two Acts, the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection Act 1976 and to a lesser extent, the Dog Act 1976, operate to regulate the management and control of wild dogs in WA.

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National wild dog facilitator appointed A National Wild Dog Facilitator position, funded by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IACRC), has been filled, with Mr Greg Mifsud appointed to the role. The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries in Queensland will host the position, which is based in Toowoomba. The National Facilitator position will be managed by a steering committee with representatives from Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, industry bodies and state departments. The committee will be chaired by Barry Davies from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA). The National Facilitator will help provide much needed support and complement the existing skills of regional coordinators and local pest control authorities, as dog management plans are developed and implemented. The National Facilitator project aims to establish regional or local wild dog groups. The WA pastoral area is already divided into five zones known as Zone Control Authorities (ZCA) by the Agriculture Protection Board (APB). A levy is raised through a pastoral rating system called the Declared Plant and Animal Control Fund (DPACF), with the money matched by the State Government and then allocated into the five regions. The ZCA then decides how the money is spent on declared plant and animal control. The National

Facilitator project will benefit WA by contributing to future planning sessions, as well as ensuring Western Australia is kept up-to-date with wild dog management programs across Australia. Mr Davies said the various ZCAs met two or three times a year. Virtually 100 per cent of funding in Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra and Carnarvon had been spent on wild dog control. While a big proportion of money in the Pilbara and Kimberley was spent on wild dogs, these areas were also able to focus on other issues such as weeds and donkeys.

Doggers on the ground Current strategies to control wild dogs are the employment of contract doggers on the ground and continuing the refined aerial baiting program. GPS data logging systems are used to map wild dog activity, record where traps and baits are laid and identify areas where stock loss is severe. With the use of modern technology, an accurate picture of the current situation can be developed and control efforts better targeted. Mr Davies said about 16 doggers were working in the Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra and Carnarvon areas and the wheatbelt fringe from Merredin to Esperance. Efforts were also being made to attract younger people in their 30s and 40s into the business, which requires skills in self-sufficiency and preparedness to work in isolated locations. Three of the 16 doggers were funded by the Department of Environment


FEATURES

and Conservation and focused on Crown land, with the remainder working on pastoral leases and farming country.

New dog baits Between 750,000 and 950,000 aerial baits are dropped across the State each year and about 300,000 are delivered on the ground. Until recently, the baits were prepared in the field with pastoralists and DAFWA staff injecting the meat with 1080 and then placing the baits on drying racks made from wire netting. However, in the past five years, the rising cost of meat for human and pet consumption has affected bait supplies, which meant bait requirements for the various zones has not always been met. To remedy this, a research trial was conducted to identify how sausage baits performed in the field. These baits proved to be acceptable to wild dogs, leading to the Forrestfield Bait Production Unit being reconfigured to be able to produce 20,000 sausage baits per day. These baits are injected with 1080 as they are made, creating savings in both time and money for the ZCAs. The first batch of 100,000 baits was made in five days in late August 2007 for the Pilbara ZCA and delivered overnight by road express to Karratha, where they were laid on racks and dried. Those involved said this new system was much easier than the one for traditional meat baits.

Downloading field data from the data logger.

Data logging to combat wild dogs Data logging, the recording and storing of coordinates, dates and times of wild dog activity, is helping pinpoint problem areas and paint a more accurate picture of wild dog locations and numbers in the Goldfields-Nullarbor region. Research Officer Samantha van Wyngaarden, from the Kalgoorlie Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) said five data loggers which have been in use in the area for about a year have been a big help in supplying specific data about wild dogs. “This information can be used as another tool for the control of wild dogs, aid in a more strategic approach and become an historical record,” Ms van Wyngaarden said. The data loggers record the wild dog activity, taken by doggers with a Global Positioning System (GPS) device. This data is then downloaded and displayed on a map. The data logger stores the information from the GPS such as the date, time and location where animals have been shot, trapped or sighted. The mapped information assists with future planning of baiting

and trapping campaigns for wild dog control. A summary of June-December 2006 activity for the region shows 638 active dog sightings, 54 stock attacks, 517 traps set, 22,614 baits laid and 75 dogs killed. Ms van Wyngaarden said there was a need to record accurate information on wild dog activity to quantify anecdotal evidence and general observations made on wild dogs. ”Because information from data loggers is displayed on a regional map, we can detect gaps and trends which need to be tackled,” she said. “We can decide if some areas should be baited more aggressively and then share this information.” It is planned to use the data loggers long-term, with hopes they could also be applied to tracking other feral animals such as camels.

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RFDS on the Road primary health care program By Tricia Slee, Royal Flying Doctor Service

RFDS on the Road started in 2004 as a three-year project delivering primary health care services to people living, working and travelling in some of the most remote areas of the vast Pilbara region. The Program is sponsored by principal partner BHP Billiton Iron Ore with support from the Pilbara Fund, which is administered by the Pilbara Development Commission. BHP Billiton Iron Ore has just confirmed ongoing sponsorship for a further three years to enable the RFDS on the Road team to continue delivering a range of health education, information, screening clinics and training activities to people living and working in the region. Negotiations are taking place with the intention of launching the program in the Goldfields-Esperance region in early 2008 and BHP Billiton Nickel West has indicated an interest. Locations visited under the program include pastoral stations, satellite mine and exploration sites, Aboriginal communities, tourist facilities and remote communities. The services offered include: • RFDS ‘Medical Chest’ management education; • remote area First Aid training, e.g. CPR, management of snakebite and giving an intramuscular injection;

• Accredited Senior First Aid course (two-day) or basic First Aid Certificate (three-hour); • health promotion and healthy lifestyle activities; • safety awareness and injury prevention education; • health risk assessments/screening; • emergency evacuation training: RFDS Patient Preparation and Procedures for health professionals and emergency service personnel; • one-on-one health consultations to assess an individual’s general health; • RFDS Airstrip Surveys confirmation of day and night landing standards; and • RFDS Western Operations Overview (a presentation about our aero-medical emergency evacuation and patient transfer services, medical telephone consultations, Primary Health Clinics, Rural Women’s GP Program, Medical Chest Program and related health care services).

RFDS on the Road Primary Health Care Nurse Michelle Bodington (top centre) explains CPR to the staff at Warrawagine Station, north east of Marble Bar.

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The RFDS on the Road Primary Health Care mobile unit is staffed with a Primary Health Care Nurse and a Project Support Officer. The team also runs primary health care education and training activities for primary schools, hospitals and clinics, volunteer emergency service groups and a number of community events across the Pilbara region. To the end of June 2007, the Program provided primary health care services at more than 120 Pilbara locations; made 163 individual health consultations and delivered one or more of our primary health care services to more than 4400 remote Pilbara residents. We welcome invitations to work in partnership with government, corporate and community organisations. For more information about the RFDS on the Road Primary Health Care Partnership Program, please contact Tricia Slee, Program Manager on (08) 9417 6391 or email tricia.slee@rfdswestops.com.au

The RFDS on the Road vehicle.


Help for the homestead

The Rural Women’s GP Service providing choice By Donna Fahie, Royal Flying Doctor Service

It is no surprise that most women would prefer to see a female doctor for sensitive medical issues. However this isn’t so easy if you happen to live in outback Australia. Rural Australia is facing a shortage of doctors in country areas, with generally more male doctors in rural areas, so finding a female GP can be extremely difficult. The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has been operating a program to provide female doctors to rural areas since 2000. The Rural Women’s GP Service operates across Australia and is aimed at areas with little or no access to a female doctor. The Service enables women to see a female GP about a variety of health and well-being concerns. These include pap smears, breast checks, contraception, sexual health, mental health and domestic violence. Feedback on the Service indicates that a lot of people find it reassuring to be able to talk to the female doctors,

Dr Elizabeth Wysocki checking a patient in one of her clinics.

because they are not a permanent part of the community. It is a unique situation, because the Service’s doctors can provide continuity of care to their patients, but they won’t run into them in a social situation, which women find very reassuring.

Early detection Dr Susan Downes has been visiting Newman under the Rural Women’s GP service since 2001 and she would like to see women being more vigilant with their regular health checks, including pap smears and breast examinations. “It is important that women do not delay seeing a doctor to have their regular health check or if they have concerns about something changing,” Dr Downes said.

“Early detection is the key to treating so many of the illnesses women suffer today.” Consultations provided by the service are completely confidential and the service is available to all members of the community - including men and children. For more information about the Rural Women’s GP Service, please call Donna Fahie on (08) 9417 6344.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service Emergency Number:

1800 625 800

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Look after your business have a routine health check-up By Julian Krieg, Wheatbelt Men’s Health Service

Recently I had my car serviced. When I picked it up, I was given the bill but also a checklist of what had been checked or replaced. I was also able to check off the few little things that I had asked the service person to look at while they were servicing my car. The process of getting my car serviced was a two-way communication procedure between me, as the one who knows my car pretty well, and the service person who listened to my concerns. The mechanics then went about correcting the problems, as well as ensuring the other operating systems of the vehicle were all okay. A couple of days later I had to front my local GP for a medical check-up. Probably because of the work I do, I felt that I should also discuss with my GP any concerns I had about my health, in a similar way to my discussion with the mechanic, and I was pleased that he listened to my concerns.

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He was also quick to tell me I wasn’t getting any younger and some of my concerns were just symptoms of my age, which was reassuring. I did pass the medical, but it got me thinking that it is important for each of us to create a list of questions to ask when we visit the GP and to have an expectation of what he or she should check as part of a routine check-up.

What to ask at a routine health check-up You should have a health check-up at least once a year, and so you remember, make it your birthday present to yourself. As a starting point, I think the following should always be included: • blood pressure; • heart check; • skin check; • weight; • sight and hearing tests; • genitals; • aches pains and lumps; and • sleeping problems. Also, don’t be surprised if your GP suggests additional checks like: • blood tests for cholesterol and PSA (prostate);

• diabetes test; • heart stress test; • X-rays; and • further hearing or eyesight tests.

Living in a remote area Living in a remote area may mean that you don’t often get the time to visit a GP, so if you are to get the best from your GP visits, you need to get involved with your health care. You should not expect your GP to try to ‘best guess’ your state of health. How many would take their car to the garage and tell the mechanic to guess what is wrong? Next time you visit your GP, go with a list of questions and listen to the answers. You are then in a better position to take ownership of your own wellbeing. Men are notorious for not visiting their GP, so when you do go, make the most of it and get value for money. It is your health we are talking about. And if you’re not looking after your health, you’re not doing yourself, your family or your business any favours. For further information, contact Julian Krieg on (08) 9690 2277 or email him via: snaughton@agric.wa.gov.au


Help for the homestead

Pastoral traineeships in Western Australia By Fred Chambers, Rural Skills Australia WA.

What are traineeships? A traineeship is an employment-based training arrangement that combines practical work experience and training with an employer, together with a theory component from a Registered Training Organisation. Traineeships are similar to traditional apprenticeships but of a shorter duration. Trainees are paid a wage by their employer during training and, where eligible, a living away from home allowance of $77.17 per week (in the first year) may be paid to trainees by the Australian Government. In 2006-07, there were about 220 agricultural traineeship commencements in Western Australia, with the majority of these being from the grain and sheep sectors, and nine specifying cattle production. The broadly based Certificates II and III in Agriculture are the most popular, with numbers for shearers and wool handlers increasing rapidly.

Pastoral traineeships In the pastoral industry, trainees usually commence at the entry level Certificate II in Agriculture, specialising in Beef, or Sheep and Wool Production. They then may progress through to Certificate III, which is generally viewed as the ‘trade level’. Many sectors now encourage employees on to Certificate IV (Muresk Agribusiness Degree entry level) then on to the Diploma level and higher. Frequently with a pastoral traineeship, the training can be provided totally in the workplace. Traineeships also have the advantage of providing relevant industry and occupational health and safety

skills within nationally recognised qualifications. Traineeships are not just for young people. Anyone from 15 years of age can be employed as a trainee, and this may include family members. Trainees don’t need to be unemployed and existing employees may be eligible under limited circumstances. Even secondary school students can be employed as part-time trainees. There are no specified minimum educational requirements for participation, however basic literacy and numeracy skills to Year 10 standards are recommended. All trainees and apprentices in WA pay a tuition fee to their TAFE or private trainer.

Financial aspects Trainee wage information is available from the Wage Line on 1300 655 266. Employers may also be eligible for government financial incentive payments starting at $1,250 for a Certificate II qualification commencement, and commencement and completion incentives of at least $4,000 for Certificate III and IV level qualifications. There are many other incentives. For example, mature aged and schoolbased trainees are eligible for a tool box allowance of $800, training fee vouchers and additional assistance where the National Skills Needs List applies, such as in shearing.

Organisations involved in traineeships Several organisations are involved in traineeships: • Rural Skills Australia. A notfor-profit industry-managed

association that provides training advice and assistance to industry. Call (08) 9752 3665 or visit www.ruralskills.com.au • Australian Apprenticeships Centres (AACs). These centres are contracted to the Australian Government to manage traineeships and apprenticeships. AACs also manage the employer subsidies. Telephone 13 38 73 for contact information or visit www.skillsforthefuture.gov.au • Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). RTOs include TAFE and private training providers, and many are contracted to the WA Department of Employment and Training to deliver traineeships and/or apprenticeships. Pastoralists can choose the provider that suits their needs and location, however in remote areas the choice of providers may be limited. • Group Training Companies (GTCs). These are an option for employers, as the GTC employs apprentices and trainees and then places them with a host employer. Like a labour hire company, they take care of the paperwork for wages, allowances, workers’ compensation, superannuation, etc. As they are the employer, the government subsidies are paid to the GTC.

Getting started Eligibility may be complex. Any Australian Apprenticeships Centre can discuss eligibility with you, as well as preferred training providers and training delivery arrangements. For details of agencies in your area or for any further information call Fred Chambers at Rural Skills Australia WA on (08) 9752 3665 or mobile 0409 884 574.

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Carnarvon School of the Air By Christine Bevans, Principal, Carnarvon School of the Air

“Good (crackle, crackle) morning, Miss” … Gone are the days where students located on stations and isolated areas of Western Australia received their air lessons via radio. All five Schools of the Air (SOTA) located at Derby, Port Hedland, Meekatharra (relocated to Geraldton in 2007), Kalgoorlie and Carnarvon have moved forward and now deliver ‘air lessons’ through updated technology. Carnarvon’s SOTA was the last school to be set up in 1968, broadcasting out of a washroom at Carnarvon Primary School. Fast forward to 2007 and students receive their air lessons through virtual classrooms and on-line delivery.

Traditions kept Although the crackle of the radio has long gone and been replaced by computers, satellites and new technology, there are many traditions that have been kept at the Carnarvon School of the Air.

The school’s P and C is an active body that supports fundraising activities and is very proactive in supporting the purchasing and wearing of the school uniform. Most students wear a uniform at home in the ‘school room’, as well as on all camps and school activities. The wearing of the uniform helps instil a sense of pride and belonging and supports students in developing a daily school routine. Communication is a key focus for the school as we move forward in the use of ever-changing technology. Students participate in daily ‘air lessons’ through on-line computers using a new system called Centra, which all SOTA students across the State use to conduct lessons. The Principal, School Council and P and C also conduct meetings using the Centra system. There is always support for home tutors and students at the end of a telephone call.

Communication between the school and families is also enhanced through the use of emails, faxes and telephone calls. The ‘snail mail’ of delivering set work and information to families is still a main part of the Carnarvon School of the Air. All mail is sent out in tough, bright red bags bulging with student’s work, newsletters and information from the school. Occasionally uninvited guests have made their way into these red bags out at stations, including the odd snake and spider.

Camps, sport and social events The school provides opportunities for students, staff and parents to meet in town or on camps. This is a vital social occasion for students who may not see each other for months at a time.

Teacher, Mrs Sue Tindale and student Tessa Meecham from Quobba Station, participating in air lessons in the studio at Carnarvon School of the Air.

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Help for the homestead

An annual sports camp for Years 3-7 students at the Carnarvon SOTA is held in Geraldton. This camp has a strong focus on physical education and developing skills in a variety of sports, including football, hockey and tennis. It is also an opportunity for our students to work as part of a team and participate in sporting activities for which they would not normally have access. The staff are actively involved in these camps and this major annual event provides an opportunity to build positive relationships between staff and students. Other camps throughout the year include Mini-camps and Home Tutor Training sessions that are conducted in Carnarvon. These sessions support parents and home tutors in working with their children in a distance education setting. Mini-camps are occasionally held on stations or in remote locations. One such camp was held at Middalya Station and involved students hunting for fossils around the area and in dry creek beds, while another camp was held at Red Bluff, resulting in the writing of a new school song by the students. A major event of the year is the SOTA Muster camp held in Perth in December for Year 4-7 students and involves all five SOTAs. It is an opportunity to provide students with ‘new experiences’ in a city location. It is also an opportunity for staff and students to rekindle old friendships and catch up on the bush news.

Homestead visits The teachers at the school travel to families throughout the year to visit children in their home environment and work with parents and home tutors. It is a unique opportunity for teachers to assess student progress and be involved in the student’s life in remote and distance locations.

Mac Maslen from Eudamullah Station discovers ‘fossils’ at Middalya Mini-camp.

Staff actively plan camps and training sessions to meet the needs of students and home tutors.

School of the Air contacts:

The school conducts tours of the premises and provides an opportunity for tourists, many international, to see and hear the students in action. Occasionally a bus load of tourists will book in, resulting in very full studios, but happy and interested guests.

(08) 9941 1015 www.carnarvonsota.wa.edu.au/

Although the students are remote, the school has provided many guest speakers over the air including scientists, visiting authors and Constable Care, thereby enriching a wide range of interests.

(08) 9193 1006 members.westnet.com.au/ksota/

The Carnarvon SOTA school motto is ‘Reaching Out’ and is the foundation for staff at the school to work and engage in their student’s education, lives and families.

Port Hedland School of the Air

Carnarvon School of the Air

Kalgoorlie School of the Air (08) 9093 2728 www.kalsota.wa.edu.au/ Kimberley School of the Air

Meekatharra School of the Air (08) 9964 0800 myweb.westnet.com.au/msota/

(08) 9172 8100 www.porthedlandsota.wa.edu.au/

Until next time, ‘Over and out’.

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Public access to pastoral leases Access to pastoral leases by third parties including tour operators, people fishing and tourists has caused an increasing amount of debate in recent times, and required the involvement of the affected lessees and the Pastoral Lands Board. The community has expectations regarding access to remote areas of interest, whether it be for fishing or passage through the land. In general, access to pastoral lands should be supported, provided that the activities of the public do not adversely affect the pastoral operations or cause environmental damage to the land. Unfortunately, some actions of a minority, such as leaving gates open, damaging property, starting fires and leaving rubbish have resulted in access to pastoral land being denied to the public, after many years of open access. This can lead to ill-feeling against pastoralists who are simply trying to protect their livelihood.

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Underlying principles A number of principles are considered to apply to the issue of public access over a pastoral lease. • A pastoral lessee has a right of quiet enjoyment of the pastoral lease land. • A pastoral lessee has obligations under a pastoral lease to maintain roads and improvements etc. • A person (not acting under the authority of an Act) who enters on to the pastoral lease land without the pastoral lessee’s authority or permission is a trespasser. • A pastoral lessee may give others permission to enter on to the pastoral lease, subject to conditions such as charging fees, provided that the pastoral lessee is continuing to use the lease for pastoral purposes.

• If permission to enter is granted to the public by the pastoralist, any fee charged is to be no more than that required to cover reasonable costs involved in permitting access. Fees charged may be based on apportionment of time involved in dealing with tour operators, tourists, maintenance costs of roads, liability insurance, property damage, stock loss or other relevant costs. • If the pastoralist charges anything other than a reasonable access fee or hosts the visitors in any way, such as providing meals, accommodation or services, then they need to apply to the Board for a Diversification Permit. • Pastoral lessees may have a potential liability to persons entering pastoral leases, particularly when fees are charged for access.


Help for the homestead

GPS settings make sure they’re right There have been a few incidents recently where costly mistakes have been made by pastoralists because they undertook some work using Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates from a GPS that was not correctly set up. Checking that your GPS is set to the correct datum is not complicated. You will probably find the datum setting under ‘System Menu’ or ‘Navigation’ or something similar. You may need to check the manual. • If fees charged are large enough to constitute an income rather than a cost-recovery exercise, the pastoral land is being used for other than pastoral purposes. • A permit under the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA) must be applied for when the pastoral lessee is intending to use the land for non-pastoral activities, including station stay or tourism purposes. • It is an offence under Section 106 of the LAA to use land under a pastoral lease for purposes other than pastoral, unless a permit has been issued by the Board. If there are particular points where tourists or others may inadvertently enter your pastoral lease, some signage at these points may help inform people that they are actually entering a pastoral lease.

The most important thing is to check that your GPS is set to WGS 84. It may already be set correctly, but checking may avoid costly mistakes.

Grants and assistance You can access a comprehensive directory of grants for community groups and individuals, as well as getting assistance with applying for grants, by looking at the Grants Directory on our website at:

www.dpi.wa.gov.au/pastoral and click on ’Useful Links’, then ‘Community Information‘.

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On both sides of the fence -

an update on the Good Neighbour Policy Responding to a need for improved relationships with its 16,000 neighbours who share a property boundary, particularly those in the pastoral and rural zones, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has now released its finalised Good Neighbour Policy. The policy provides direction related to cross boundary issues including: • • • • • • • • • • • •

boundary fences; fire management and control; control of weeds; control of introduced pests; straying stock on DEC-managed lands; native animals that affect primary production; access to and activities on DECmanaged land and water; off-reserve conservation programs and activities; natural resource management; neighbour and community input into DEC planning and operations; DEC environmental protection responsibilities; and communication, contacts and liaison.

Initiated in 2004 (before CALM merged with the Department of Environment to form the Department of Environment and Conservation), the policy is the result of collaboration with stakeholders, including the

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Pastoralists and Graziers’ Association, which has been instrumental in developing the draft content and final policy.

Results of state-wide survey A 2006 state-wide survey sought to quantify and establish priorities for a range of problems and solutions that were identified from the 22 initial community engagement regional forums and zone meetings. Results were grouped and reported as coming from neighbours based in the SouthWest, Wheatbelt or pastoral areas. DEC received nearly 1000 completed surveys (15 per cent of those sent out). The main findings of the state-wide survey were as follows. • Only 41 per cent of neighbours were satisfied overall with DEC as a neighbour. • The most important issues to neighbours were fire management, control of introduced pests and fencing of shared boundaries.

• Neighbours did not feel that DEC was managing most issues very well, with the fencing of shared boundaries and native animals affecting primary production considered the least well-managed at the moment. • In terms of animal and plant control, the two biggest issues were the impacts of feral animals (foxes and rabbits) and native animals (kangaroos and emus) on agricultural activities. The most important actions for DEC were considered to be taking responsibility for maintaining native animals at sustainable levels and contributing to better fencing to control invasive animals. • Fire and fence management were considered very important, and there were a number of widespread issues. The most prevalent and important were DEC not contributing to fencing costs, not enough controlled burns in the South-West and insufficient firebreaks in the Wheatbelt and


Help for the homestead

the pastoral regions. Addressing fencing costs either by altering legislation to share responsibility and/or allowing a tax deduction when DEC does not contribute to costs, were considered by respondents to be the most useful actions. • There were no dominant communication, access and management issues; but a lack of understanding of each other’s business and not knowing who to contact in DEC were identified as the more common and important issues. Fostering a more understanding culture and making more contact with neighbours when making on-site visits were identified as useful actions or solutions. • Fifty-three per cent of respondents to the survey felt that DECmanaged land impacted on their land and activities - 36 per cent negatively and 17 per cent positively. Thirty-eight per cent felt that their land impacted on adjoining DEC land - but 28 per cent felt this effect was positive and only 10 per cent that it was negative. • Only 18 per cent of responding neighbours said that they felt they knew a lot about DEC’s objectives with the land it manages in their area; and only 42 per cent felt that DEC’s objectives were even a little compatible with their own objectives and activities. • 36 per cent of respondents were aware of the draft Good Neighbour Policy, but only 16 per cent had read most or all of it. A quarter of those aware of the policy (9 per cent overall) said they thought it had already had a positive effect. • Neighbours in the pastoral region were generally the least positive across virtually all issues

and measures, while those in the South-West were the most positive. Respondents from commercial properties (more than 90 per cent of those from the Wheatbelt and pastoral regions) were also more inclined to be negative about the impacts of sharing boundaries with DEC than residential neighbours. It was concluded that DEC needs to take action in two primary areas: its physical activities and operations and in its communication with neighbours. The actions in the first area will address the important issues of fires, fences and feral animal control. In the second area, more active communication to raise awareness of DEC’s presence and, in particular, its objectives and strategies is suggested, along with clearer communication of contact points within the organisation and more contact and involvement with neighbours when visiting sites.

What happens next? The Good Neighbour Policy will be promoted and distributed widely among neighbours of DEC-managed lands across Western Australia. A copy is included with this issue of Pastoral Lines.

The policy will continue to guide the management of common crossboundary issues that affect DEC and its neighbours. It will be regularly revised and updated. DEC Director General Keiran McNamara said that sound relationships and two-way communication between neighbours were fundamental to responsible management of natural lands. “Our challenge is to implement Departmental initiatives consistent with the values outlined in this policy document and continue to improve the way we do our business in conjunction with our neighbours,” he said. “For local and regional matters, please contact my staff at your nearest DEC office. This policy is based upon the principle that issues and problems are generally best addressed at the local level.” Detailed results and reports including the final Good Neighbour Policy, participant feedback forum results, a summary of the Survey Report, the Survey of Neighbours Report and Analysis of Public Submissions on the draft policy, can be found at www.naturebase.net/content/ view/2824/344/

Miner’s Rights You can get lots of information about prospecting in WA and Miner’s Rights on our website:

www.dpi.wa.gov.au/pastoral and click on ‘Information and Publications’ and then ‘Mining Information’.

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Telecentre network provides regional opportunities The WA Telecentre Network is providing thousands of regional and remote people and businesses with education, training and business opportunities through local access to high tech equipment and a range of government and private sector services. Telecentres are not-for-profit, community owned and managed facilities that are equipped with computers, high-speed Internet access, photocopiers, fax machines and two-way 128 kb videoconferencing facilities. This enables individuals and businesses to communicate effectively over vast distances, regardless of their location. Experienced and friendly staff are available at each Telecentre to answer any questions and provide technical support and guidance with everything from searching the Internet to participating in a video conference. There are over 100 Telecentres located in communities across the

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State from Wyndham to Walpole, and the WA Telecentre Network is bringing those communities together by providing local access to education and training opportunities.

Many Telecentres also provide access to government services such as Centrelink, the Employment Directions Network, the Australian Taxation Office and Medicare Easyclaim.

Telecentre services

With more than 600,000 people using the Network each year, Telecentres are an important source of information, training and services within regional and remote communities.

Telecentres are helping people in rural and remote Western Australia to develop new skills and opportunities. They can provide access to university or TAFE courses, professional development, adult education and lifelong learning activities, as well as virtual classrooms using video conferencing and Westlink satellite services to support local learning.

For more information about your local Telecentre, contact the Department of Local Government and Regional Development on 9217 1459, FreeCall (WA country only) 1800 620 511 or visit www.telecentres.wa.gov.au


Help for the homestead

Get your contact details up-to-date

Correspondence from the Board is important and if you do not receive it or receive it late, there may be significant consequences.

It is important for pastoralists to ensure that the Pastoral Lands Board has your most current contact details.

then click on ‘Change your contact details’ in the navigation bar on the left, click on the PDF, print the form, fill it out, ensure the lessee(s) sign it and send it to us.

In particular, if there is a change of station manager or accountant that receives mail on behalf of the lessee, you must update your contact details with us as soon as possible.

Updating is simple To change your contact details, just visit our website at:

www.dpi.wa.gov.au/pastoral

The form has three levels of contact: 1. The station manager, for emergencies where we need to contact a person on the ground urgently. 2. The lessee contact, who is the person to receive correspondence regarding routine enquires/matters, e.g. a person seeking permission to access a pastoral lease. 3. The registered lessee contact for correspondence that must, by law, be sent to the registered lessee. If you don’t have access to the Internet, call this office on (08) 9347 5126 for a form.

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Pastoral Lands Board Telephone: (08) 9347 5126 Facsimile: (08) 9347 5009 Email: plb@dpi.wa.gov.au Website: www.dpi.wa.gov.au/pastoral Address: Pastoral Land Business Unit Department for Planning and Infrastructure PO Box 1575 MIDLAND WA 6936 ISSN: 1834-2566

Pastoral Lines Issue No 6 March 2008  

FEATURES IN THIS ISSUE Selling a pastoral lease Animal welfare and livestock transport Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management Support...

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