Media Release: Tropical Cyclone Flooding on Roebuck Plains Station

The significant rainfall event as a consequence of ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie has seen widespread water inundation over the floodplains of Roebuck Plains Station, owned by Aboriginal Corporation, Nyamba Buru Yawuru.
The Station holds approximately 16,000 head of cattle and the marine flood plains comprise some of the Station’s most productive paddocks.
Being a floodplain, experiencing high levels of water inundation is fairly typical during the northern wet season and the Station’s Managers have standard procedures they follow to mitigate risks to animal welfare during flood events.
The volume of water and weather conditions created by ex-TC Ellie has resulted in the largest flooding event in Western Australia’s history.
With the assistance of helicopters to move cattle to higher ground, over 6,000 head have been moved off the floodplain.
“The timeliness of our response was challenging, because the high winds made it impossible for the contracted helicopters to get in the air” said Station Manager, John Geddes.
“Thankfully, we had opened up the gates early to enable cattle to move off the floodplain
on their own. The helicopters were then able to get up on Friday and move the remaining
cattle onto dry land,” he said.
Given the ability to mobilise relatively quickly, the anticipated stock losses across the Station are expected to be minimised.
Mr Geddes suggested that “we won’t know the full extent of how many cattle we’ve lost until we muster next year, however based on current assessment the loss has been very minimal.”
The cattle moved into dryer paddocks will have sufficient feed to see them through to the dry season, once water recedes off the floodplain.
Nyamba Buru Yawuru CEO, Nini Mills, stated “staff safety and animal welfare is an absolute priority for us. During the extreme weather conditions, it was unfeasible for us to allow staff to operate in unsafe and risky conditions. As soon as weather permitted, every effort was made to actively move cattle off the flood plains. Those that have been relocated are in good condition.
“We are committed to upholding high animal welfare standards and will continue to keep a close eye on our herd.”
Media Contact: Ellen Smith 0406 594 979