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Massive cattle drive kicks off in western Qld

By Nicole Bond and Chrissy Arthur, Tuesday June 18, 2013 - 06:24 EST
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Mr Little has been droving for 30 years and says the size of the operation may be record-breaking. - ABC

A western Queensland drover says history will be made when 18,000 cattle are walked from Queensland to New South Wales over the next three months.

Nine drovers will move the northern Australian cattle in groups of between 2,000 and 4,000 from drop-off points in the Longreach district in central-west Queensland to Uardry Station near Hay in New South Wales.

Much of western Queensland is in drought and cattle have been fetching lower prices at market.

Queensland drover Bill Little is organising the cattle from the northern properties of the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), to be trucked to places like Longreach, Ilfracombe, Winton, Muttaburra and Tambo, and then walked to Hay.

Mr Little has been droving for 30 years and says the size of the operation may be record-breaking.

"It's probably a bit of history," he said.

"Just the fact of the buying of that size mob alone is probably nearly a bit of history and especially going to Hay - I wouldn't know in my time I've never seen anything like that magnitude.

"It's a challenge and everybody likes a challenge ... and to be part of this big operation gives us all a bit of a buzz.

"Everybody is a bit excited about it - all the drovers, I think even the agents involved - it's pretty big and I think everybody's liking it."

Councils worried not enough feed and water

However, western Queensland councils are concerned about the plan to drove the thousands of cattle through the region's stock routes to NSW.

Some councils are worried about whether there will be enough feed and water to support such large numbers.

Winton Mayor Butch Lenton says they tried to refuse the permit application, but it was overturned.

"The Winton northern routes have been declared closed, and also there are cattle that've been dropped in Winton to go towards Longreach on the stock routes, which was blocked by Winton Shire Council, but that was overturned and those cattle are now on the way," he said.

"We've just got to take it as it comes at the moment, but we'll certainly look into why it was done and how it was done."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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