A number of parcels of Indigenous land in the Katherine region in the Northern Territory are being offered up for pastoral leases by traditional owners, in a bid to capitalise on a strong northern live export cattle industry.
The Northern Land Council, on behalf of traditional owners, has called for expressions of interest to run cattle on 750sq km of the Menngen Aboriginal Land Trust. Cattle have been run on Menngen, previously known as Innisvale Station, for many years, and the land had recently become available for lease after issues with the previous lease, ABC reported earlier today.
The NLC is also taking expressions of interest for pastoral leases on other NT Aboriginal Land Trusts, including Nicholson River, Robinson River, Balbirini, Cox River, Beswick Land Trust, Eva Valley and others in the Daly River region.
NLC chief executive Joe Morrison said there had long been interest in running cattle on Menngen.
“It was well known as Innisvale Station prior to it becoming Aboriginal Land, so there is a good history of running cattle there,” he said.
“There are lots of Aboriginal cultural sites, but not withstanding that there is significant potential for cattle to grow on the Land Trust.”
Opportunities for infrastructure improvements
Mr Morrison said traditional owners saw leasing the land as an opportunity to develop infrastructure and capital improvements on the land.
“Part of the arrangements is to have third parties come and assist with the infrastructure requirements of running cattle, including watering points, fencing, gates, as well as cattle,” he said.
“These are some of the aspects of which Aboriginal people on their own have found it difficult to get access to capital to be able to put that infrastructure into place.”
Mr Morrison told the ABC that traditional owners were hoping to capitalise on strong beef prices and confidence within the northern cattle industry.
He said the NLC was interested in working with traditional owners and other parties like the NT government, the NT Cattlemens Association and others.
“We will look comprehensively at what is available in terms of land and water, where capital is and what can be done to bring about Aboriginal business and Aboriginal engagement with various industries. With cattle prices being high, it is one of those industries we are very keen to work with other parties to capitalise on.”