An Aboriginal community in Western Australia’s Kimberley region has said attempts to make its cattle station profitable and create jobs are being stymied by state government red tape.
The Mowanjum Aboriginal Corporation near Derby was recognised for excellence in the Premier’s Award two years ago for its innovative circle irrigation trial, but CEO Steve Austin said delays in approval for a second pivot have caused the community to lose valuable momentum.
A new land agreement will open the door to more jobs in the Pilbara region and harness innovation in the Western Australian agricultural sector.
The State Government, Wanparta Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (on behalf of the Ngarla people) and Pardoo Beef Corporation Pty Ltd, have recently finalised negotiations concerning the terms and conditions for an ILUA to support the development of an irrigated agriculture precinct.
Singaporean Bruce Cheung is as motivated to see a dramatic expansion of agribusiness in the Pilbara as he is ambitious. His Pardoo Beef Corporation, which was purchased in 2015, runs 11,000 head of cattle on a station in the Pilbara, with most headed for China or South Korea.
Mr Cheung plans to eventually have a herd in the north nearly 10 times that size to sustain feedlotting and processing operations in the region, which will underpin a Pilbara Beef brand to rival that of the famous Japanese Wagyu.
“It’s not about Pardoo, I’m not a young man,” Mr Cheung told Business News.
“I want to provide it so that the region has an option for change.
“Why can’t we (producers in the region) be named in this world as Pilbara Beef?”
A Singaporean businessman says Western Australia’s pastoral industry could add a billion dollars in value by tapping into Western Australia’s vast underground water reserves. Mr Cheung has spent millions transforming Pardoo’s marginal grazing country into lush green pasture.
The owner of a Pilbara cattle station has tapped into the water from a river running underneath his property – transforming the dry, marginal grazing country into what looks like a lush green dairy farm.