Saturday, July 13, 2024

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HomeIssue 7Nature, markets kind to cattlemen. Crime, officialdom are not.

Nature, markets kind to cattlemen. Crime, officialdom are not.


It’s a room full of smiles as cattlemen are gathering for their annual meeting after record rains and beef prices in the clouds.

The problems retiring president of their association, Chris Nott, referred to in his speech were not of their making, nor nature’s: He started his farewell address reflecting on crime and anti-social behaviour which are making it hard to “keep people at their work”.

He asked: “Why are parents not sending their kids to school?”

When the association complained that there were no truancy officers checking bush school, some came on one occasion but did not return.

The greatest competitor for labour is the Federal government and its welfare, says Mr Nott (pictured below).

There are “no real jobs, no real pathways” for young people, no consequence for bad behaviour.

There were 26,000 fruit picking jobs advertised with special incentives but just 400 applicants.

Mr Nott said red tape and the number of regulatory bodies in the live export trade had ballooned in the wake of the WA sheep scandal, but had not brought any improvements: “Mortalities were at point one of a percent before. They still are at point one of a percent.”

Producers are facing growing demands for funding of the fast growing bureaucracy governing the industry.

Workplace accidents are an increasing problem as regulations are being tightened. Mr Nott mentioned quad bike accidents and being hit by animals as a major risks.

Inadequate precautions are likely to lead to prosecutions with even life imprisonment as a possible consequence.

There have been 59 farm work deaths around the nation last year.

Meanwhile stockman Joseph Gordon from Delamere Station won the Alward Foster Memorial Emerging Indigenous Pastoral Leader Award, sponsored by former Cattlemen’s Association president David Warriner (at left in the photo above). The saddle was made by Geoff Newton, of Katherine (at right).


  1. Cattlemen of the Territory, you raise a number of points that I as a townie would not be aware of.
    I applaud the work you do, often doing it in silence, to help keep us all fed.
    I’m certain there are many more other things that you do for the Territory, and the nation but, when you’ve lived all your life in the cities it’s an unknown.
    Mention of truancy officers coming out to the bush is one.
    Well let me tell you, we here in town have no idea what the role of the truancy officer is. Maybe someone can enlighten us?
    The work you do is important and is recognised, so thank you all.
    Mention is also made of the 26,000 fruit picking jobs advertised and only 400 applications.
    This is one area that might pick up if the townies were to informed of payments for work done etc., then at least the response to go out fruit picking might become negotiable and worthy of consideration.
    At the moment there never appears to be a contact point or person to seek information from.
    I believe there are many seeking employment who would jump at the chance but not without a basic knowledge of the workplace. We are not all backpackers😀.
    You have a newly elected president, and I again applaud the work of the outgoing president, so let’s know more about the work of the cattlemen and women and their children who in draught, we know, do it tough.
    Engage with us townies, even if it’s by way of the Alice Springs News, and on a regular basis.
    Thank you for everything you do to keep our stores, our supermarkets and other outlets well stocked for most of our daily needs.👏👏👏.

  2. Thanks to Chris Nott for enlightening us about the cattle people’s current concerns.
    Chris is correct to worry about “why Aboriginal people are not sending their kids to school”.
    I have spent a lot of time in the last few decades asking Aboriginal parents and family leaders this question.
    Although the reasons are predictably complicated, some of the important reasons include factors such as the following:
    1. The accumulated weight of racism and colonialism, undermining the confidence, competence and mental wellbeing of many Aboriginal people.
    2. The imposition of a disempowering, colonialist model of local government over Aboriginal communities in 2008.
    3. The reduction, around the same time, in the effectiveness of many schools in meeting Aboriginal needs, particularly in terms of attracting and retaining staff with suitable skills and motivations, in both the education bureaucracy and in school staff.
    4. The imposition of counter-productive welfare systems, employment and training strategies, and related administrative structures, on many Aboriginal people.
    5. The failure over decades by the business sector to recognise that their support for laissez-faire alcohol policies was leading, and was bound to help lead, to many of the present problems that Mr Nott outlined, but most importantly, to social disengagement, feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness, and feelings of depression and anger towards much of mainstream society.

  3. Wow, Bob your comments no doubt after listening for over three decades to Aboriginal people is inspiring reading, worthy of a research topic for a PHd student to consider doing. But let’s be honest.
    The five very legitimate points you raise have not just happened overnight.
    All political parties in Australia have represented these hard working people over time and, for many decades, and it appears that political change has made little significant difference to these drovers and stockmen and women on the land.
    If it has, it would be great to hear from the families out there who keep making it possible for us all to enjoy choice in what we eat and drink, even in times of drought when they pull together to assist each other.
    However, I agree with Chris Nott when he is reported as saying that “producers are facing growing demands of the fast growing bureaucracy governing the industry”.
    Men and Women of the cattle industry, let us know, engage with us townies or maybe even keep us regularly updated on matters that we townies know little about, in what really goes on, e.g. farm work shortages, how do you compare with us townies regarding superannuation, medical advantages or disadvantages, university opportunities or lack of them, insurance, banking, internet etc.
    These are just a couple of the things we townies have the opportunity to demand answers to, can you?
    I understand the importance of what Bob is saying but it sounds somewhat like a historical / political lesson, one which every political party needs to take account of.
    Bob, you mention the imposition of counter-productive … employment and … related administrative structures on Aboriginal people.
    I can think of one that all governments have used to play with employment numbers out bush and that is CDEP. While such programs are convenient, how many people employed on CDEP get the 16.4% superannuation that (according to Paul Keating) the politicians who promote it get? Is this one of those “impositions”?
    Once again, cattlemen and women, thank you for the lifestyle you have chosen to work at. I am one very grateful person.


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