AAco enters cattle station venture with Bunuba people

Beef Central, 16/07/2012

A pastoral lease owned by the Bunuba people in the Kimberley region of WA.The Australian Agricultural Company Limited (AAco) has announced a Heads of Agreement with the Bunuba Cattle Company Pty Ltd (BCC)m a cattle operations company which is owned by the Bunuba people.

The Bunuba people are the traditional owners of land in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, which includes Leopold Station and Fairfield Station, over which Bunuba holds pastoral leases.

A press release issued by AA Co describes the Heads of Agreement as non-binding and states that the implementation of the proposal is subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions precedent, completion of due diligence, Board approvals,receipt of required Ministerial, regulatory and financier approvals and the formalisation of binding lease, cattle and asset sale documentation.

Under the proposed arrangement, AAco will have management control over the stations’ herd operations as well as marketing and procurement of cattle.

Bunuba will receive an annual rent under the sub-leases that includes a component of profit from the AAco cattle operations.

The parties have agreed to negotiate with each other on an exclusive basis with respect to the implementation of the proposal for a period of three months from the date of the Heads of Agreement.

AAco Managing Director David Farley said the Heads of Agreement was a significant move as it provided an opportunity to extend the company’s footprint into Western Australia, and involved working with traditional owners of the land for mutual benefit.

“AAco intends to work with BCC to establish micro businesses to provide services to our company, such as rangeland and station operations, fencing and mustering contracting,” Mr Farley said.

“AAco intends to work with the local community to enhance existing training and development programs focused on real jobs that are available locally and in our business, and utilise the traditional owners and indigenous ranger services for environmental, rangelands monitoring and management.”

The traditional owners will continue to have access to their country through a land sharing agreement for sacred and other important initiatives such as Bunuba community living areas, and the newly
established private upper secondary school – the Yiramalay Wesley studio school.

June Oscar, BCC Chairperson, said the venture will provide Bunuba with an opportunity to grow its current business professionally and provide employment and micro-business opportunities for the

“We envisage our affiliation will be the foundation of sustainable Aboriginal economic development for many Aboriginal owned pastoral operations in the Kimberley,” she said.

AAco currently partners with a number of indigenous community groups within the Northern Territory.


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