An international corporation has allegedly breached an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) on a cattle station in Northern Western Australia by clearing land to make way for irrigation channels and a dam.
The National Indigenous TImes has reported that Chinese super-company Shanghai CRED has failed to consult with Nyikina Mangala Traditional Owners or conduct appropriate environmental impact surveys regarding recent earth works on the Yakka Munga cattle station.
Nyikina Mangala Traditional Owner Wayne Bergmann yesterday alleged the international conglomerate had proceeded with clearing an area approximately 10km by 10km on the property last week, without native title approval.
Mr Bergmann, who is also a part-owner of the National Indigenous Times, claimed a representative from Shanghai CRED’s Australian arm, Zenith Australia Investment Holdings, told him the company was just building roads.
“I was blown away at seeing the extent of land clearing going on," the newspaper reported. "They’re building it twice as wide as the highway and scraping out water channels for irrigation,” Mr Bergmann said.
“This area was once populated with our ancestors. They’ve knocked over important trees and places where our people historically have been buried. There’s been no heritage survey or clearance or approval by Traditional Owners.”
Native title group, Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation has since requested a stop work order from WA State Government ministers, including from the Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt, the Times reported.
In 2016, Shanghai Cred purchased Yakka Munga station from Buru Energy, for around $9 million and is WA’s biggest landholder owning vast cattle stations in the Kimberley, the state's Goldfields region and farms on the edge of the Wheatbelt.
According to a 2018 WA ministerial document, Shanghai Cred is also co-owner of Australian Outback Beef (AOB) in partnership with Gina Rheinhardt's mining and agricultural business Hancock Prospecting. AOB's assets include 80,000 square kilometers of cattle stations across three states and the Northern Territory.