Getting back on Country: Kokatha Pastoral

Getting back on Country: Kokatha Pastoral

The Kokatha people are the Traditional Owners of a large section of the land in the north of South Australia. This includes the land surrounding BHP’s Olympic Dam asset and three pastoral stations to the south of Olympic Dam: Roxby Downs, Andamooka and Purple Downs. BHP holds leases over these properties, but the stations have not been in operation for many years.

The Kokatha’s Native Title over the area was formally awarded in September 2014, following a 20-year journey to recognition. BHP supported the determination of Native Title and also agreed to award sub-leases over the pastoral stations to the Kokatha people as part of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).

Kokatha are upgrading the infrastructure on the pastoral stations with financial support from BHP. The aim is to return the properties to fully operational cattle stations. Significant progress has been made to date with a major refurbishment to the Roxby Downs Homestead, installation of solar power generation, replacement of fences, cleaning of dams and repairs to other water supply infrastructure. At present, Kokatha attract income to manage its properties through an agistment agreement with Saltbush Ag, owners of the neighbouring Arcoona Station, with plans to purchase its own herd in the future.

‘Getting our people back onto Country is a fantastic outcome. Our people have a strong and ongoing connection to the area, so the sub-leases not only provide us with an opportunity for economic empowerment but also get us back onto the lands, which are an important part of our culture.’

Kokatha Chairperson, Chris Larkin

‘The pastoral stations provide Kokatha with work readiness education and training to provide access to full-time employment with BHP’s Olympic Dam mine or other resource industry operators within the Kokatha footprint to drive towards their long-term goals. I am really proud of the Pastoral team to date and we thank BHP for its ongoing support.’

Kokatha Pastoral Chairperson, Glen Wingfield