Pastoralists and Aboriginal leaders in Coober Pedy are working together to provide training and employment opportunities for Indigenous people, while helping to address a skills shortage in the pastoral industry.
- An Aboriginal corporation is leasing land to pastoralists to turn it into a working livestock property
- Pastoralists have agreed to train more Indigenous people in sheep and cattle skills
- Saltbush Ag general manager Jack Handbury says stock handling skills are in dire need in the outback
Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara Nominees, the business arm of the AMY Aboriginal Corporation, is sub-leasing Mabel Creek Station to Saltbush Ag to turn the station into a working livestock property.
AMY Nominees board member and traditional owner William Lennon said the agreement meant Saltbush Ag had more land to run cattle on, but would also train local Indigenous people in pastoral skills.
‘Staffing is a major issue’
Saltbush Ag took over operations at Mabel Creek Station late last year and has since spent about $250,000 upgrading infrastructure on the station, and started running cattle.
Saltbush Ag general manager Jack Handbury said the company had hired two people full-time through AMY Nominees and planned to train and hire more.
Mr Handbury said there was a significant lack of skilled livestock workers in the outback.
“I think [indigenous pastoral training] what the industry needs, and there needs to be more of it.
“Obviously, you know, you’re going to have some pretty green fellows and ladies come out that you’ve just got to try to mould and have the right people in place to be able to teach the right methods.”
Mr Handbury said there was a significant lack of skilled workers who could handle cattle.
“It’s important to get that training to the people who are interested [in working with livestock] to understand what they’re doing,” he said.
Land in South Australia’s far north is leased from the State Government, but AMY Nominees was able to sub-lease to Saltbush Ag for a period of five years.