Pastoralists and prospectors can share land, with respect

Raelene HallMidwest Times
Respect goes both ways when it comes to prospectors and pastoralists getting along.
Camera IconRespect goes both ways when it comes to prospectors and pastoralists getting along. Credit: istockphoto

I recently read an article which indicated some prospectors felt they were getting a raw deal from pastoralists when trying to prospect on their leases.

When land is open to use by more than one group, there is always likely to be some conflicts between the two parties.

The solution is generally very easy.

It involves mutual respect from both parties and a bit of give and take.

Pastoralists make their living from the land they lease and the stock they run on that land.

It only takes one prospector doing the wrong thing, whether that be camping at watering points, leaving rubbish behind or not notifying the pastoralist of their intentions, to upset the balance.

On the other hand, prospectors too have rights and, like it or not, as a pastoralist you need to accept those rights.

Sure, being rude and high handed might put some people off, but others will see it as an invitation to cause you grief.

My later father-in-law had a very simple philosophy when it came to those who also had rights to access his land.

“If you scratch their back, they will scratch yours.”

And so we have proven over the years.

The majority of prospectors we have had on our property have all done the right thing — contacted us to advise of their intentions, called into the homestead on arrival and departure so we know who is on the place and followed all other basic guidelines most pastoralists expect.

In return, we have prospectors who have returned and others have become family friends.

Many times, we have been given gifts of food and drinks, including the luxury of fresh fish or fruit we can’t grow.

We have always applied the same philosophy to exploration and mining companies.

Some of the benefits to us include having the first option on any work available, water bores drilled and, on occasions, donations of bulk supplies of unneeded, but perfectly, edible food.

There will always be those people on either side of the fence who, for whatever reason, will endeavour to be as difficult as possible to deal with.

I really have no idea why anyone would bother.

Life is stressful enough without deliberately greeting angst.

That said, do the wrong thing by us, and we will have no qualms in telling you so and asking you to immediately leave our property.

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