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Kerry Packer's Cattle kicked out of nature reserve
September 1, 2003 - In response to concerns raised by Kununurra conservationists, Robin Chapple MLC has asked questions in Parliament about the presence of more than a hundred cattle within Point Springs Nature Reserve in the East Kimberley.
As a consequence, Mr Chapple has been informed that nearly all the stock has been removed from the Reserve, and the Manager of the adjoining pastoral lease has been instructed by CALM to improve fencing and destock surrounding areas in order to prevent a repeat occurrence.
The adjoining Carlton Hill and Ivanhoe Pastoral Leases are held by Consolidated Pastoral Company, which is owned by Kerry Packer. 'We discovered that under section 106(a) of the CALM Act 1984, the penalty for deliberately depasturing cattle on nature reserves is $4000 and imprisonment for 6 months,' Mr Chapple said.
'Not surprisingly, CALM has elected not to prosecute Australia's richest man, which was perhaps a disappointment to some, but we're very pleased to see the cattle evicted from the reserve.'
Point Springs is a rare island of ancient rainforest vegetation, providing crucial habitat to many species including a population of endangered Gouldian Finches.
Local conservationists have put an enormous amount of work into eradicating invasive weeds from the reserve and were heartbroken to discover the damage wrought by the cattle.
'CALM has chosen to withhold even a slap on the wrist, which many will see as a licence for the practice to continue indefinitely,' Mr Chapple said. 'We will however, be keeping a very close eye on the issue to ensure that the practice is stopped for good, in Point Springs, and in other reserves in the region.'