Letter of warning over Chinese company’s alleged illegal clearing on Yakka Munga Station ‘inadequate’

Native title holders in the Kimberley say the WA government’s decision to prosecute a Chinese company accused of illegal clearing with a ‘letter of warning’ is an act of disrespect.  

Zenith Australia Investment Holdings came under fire in 2019 over bulldozing 120 hectares of land on the Yakka Munga Station lease, near Derby, over the course of a fortnight.

Nyikina Mangala traditional owners blockaded the station gates, and the WA government issued a stop-work order and began an investigation into the company’s actions.

A three-year-long probe followed, with Zenith ordered to begin remedial work at the site and start revegetating patches of bushes it destroyed.

Image of a woman walking behind a truck clearing land on a cattle station access road.
Traditional owners say they lost significant sites during the bulldozing.(ABC Kimberley: Andrew Seabourne)

But Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Robert Watson said the damage was done.

Traditional owners said they lost significant sites during the bulldozing, including ancient trees and termite mounds that housed the bones of their ancestors.

“After all this time, you think that the decision-makers and these industry groups — the pastoralists and agriculturalists — would have a better understanding at this point,” Mr Watson said.

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