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Indigenous Pastoral Project



The Northern Australia Beef Strategy Indigenous Pastoral Project is an Australian Government project, funded under the Northern Australia Sustainable Futures program. 

The Indigenous Pastoral Project (IPP) is aimed at helping Indigenous pastoral businesses become commercially viable and sustainable. 

Central to the Indigenous Pastoral Project is a step-by-step manual which will assist both Indigenous pastoral enterprises and those Indigenous land owners wishing to become pastoral businesses. 

The manual aims to build on the relationships already forged between northern Australian extension staff and the Indigenous pastoral industry, and to provide them with a tool to enable them access to all available resources.  

The manual incorporates the many resources, extension materials, and training programs already available, enabled by a commitment from all collaborators to provide materials and update them as required. Case studies of successful Indigenous pastoral businesses are also included, aiming to assist in engendering community support and engagement of Indigenous youth in the Indigenous pastoral industry; as well as demonstrate some of the many pathways to success.

A draft version of the manual was piloted in 2013 by extension officers on various properties at differing levels of development, and with differing governance structures, across north Queensland, Northern Territory and north Western Australia. Lessons learnt and feedback from the piloting process have been incorporated into the final version of the manual, which was launched in February 2014.

Stakeholder consultation

As part of the development of the IPP manual, extensive consultation was carried out with several stakeholder groups, including:

  • Indigenous pastoral communities, including groups that have entered into Pastoral Land Use Agreement's (PLUA) with non-Indigenous landholders.

  • Indigenous pastoral companies.

  • Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC).

  • Jurisdiction extension officers and trainers.

  • Non-Indigenous pastoralists (focusing on properties who already work with Indigenous communities).

In developing the IPP manual a review was undertaken of the relevant policies and regulations pertaining to the governments of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, the Federal government, land councils, and Indigenous Land Corporation concerning Indigenous pastoral economic development, including aspects of land tenure, and availability of business and other support. 

Relevant existing extension tools, programs and other knowledge sources available for the northern cattle industry which can support Indigenous pastoral development were researched, including (but not limited to):

  • Discussions with extension officers across the three state and territory jurisdictions.

  • The FutureBeef website (www.futurebeef.com.au) - a MLA, QDAFF, NTDoR & DAFWA collaboration.

  • Recent MLA publications for northern Australia, including Weaner Management, Heifer Management, Phosphorus Management and Hormonal Growth Promotants.

  • MLA’s EDGE training program (Marketing, Business, Breeding, Nutrition, Grazing Land Management) for northern Australia.

  • Profitability management software, Breedcow/Dynama - a set of beef cattle budgeting and decision support programs.

  • Livestock Product Assurance Program website supported by MLA.

  • National Farm Biosecurity Reference Manual - Grazing Livestock Production, August 2012.

  • Livecorp (for the live cattle export trade).

  • Tropical Beef Technology Services (TBTS) and Beef CRC websites.

  • MLA fact sheet on Carbon Credit Methodologies for Livestock Producers and QDAFF’s carbon written material.

  • Rural information websites (including marketing information).

  • Northern pastoral company websites.

Other relevant reports and previous stakeholder consultations that informed the development of the IPP manual included:

  • Review of Indigenous Employment and Engagement in the Northern Pastoral Industry, 2007 (published by MLA).

  • Kimberley and Pilbara RD&E program Phase 1 Pastoral Industry Survey of the Kimberley and Pilbara regions, Western Australia, 2010 (published by MLA).

  • ILC’s Cape York Indigenous Pastoral Program.

  • ILC’s Pastoral Assessment of the Daly River and Port Keats Aboriginal Land Trust area and Elizabeth Downs Station.

  • Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation Review of Cattle Operations and Business Plan.

  • Morr Morr Pastoral Company, as advisor to both management and the board.

The IPP Manual

The Indigenous Pastoral Project manual consists of nine modules and three case studies.

Each of the manual modules and case studies were designed to provide best practice technical information and procedures as well as management checklists, tools and information sources. The modules and case studies are:

  • Module 1: Business Management 

  • Module 2: Markets and Marketing

  • Module 3: Land Information

  • Module 4: Property Management

  • Module 5: Grazing Land Management

  • Module 6: Herd Management and Production

  • Module 7: Husbandry Health and Welfare

  • Module 8: Human Resource Management

  • Module 9: Diversification and Income Earning Opportunities

  • Case Study 1: Warrigundu Station, Northern Territory

  • Case Study 2: Delta Downs Station, Queensland

  • Case Study 3: Lamboo Station, Western Australia

Collaborating partners

The Northern Australia Beef Strategy Indigenous Pastoral Project is an Australian Government project, funded under the Northern Australia Sustainable Futures program. 

The Project's collaborating partners are:

  • Australian Department of Agriculture

  • Rural Industries R&D Corporation

  • McClelland Rural Services

The IPP manual was developed with the assistance of several stakeholder groups, including:

  • Indigenous pastoral communities

  • Indigenous pastoral companies

  • Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC)

  • Jurisdiction extension officers and trainers

  • Non-Indigenous pastoralists

Key contacts & links

RIRDC Research Manager

Sue Bestow
Ph: 02 6271 4124
Email: sue.bestow@rirdc.gov.au