09 Jul 2020

Forrest family agree to purchase iconic Kimberley stations

The Forrest family have agreed to purchase Jubilee Downs and Quanbun Downs pastoral stations in the Kimberley.

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Photo Credit: Hugh Brown.

The adjoining stations, totalling more than 220,000 hectares, which are currently carrying  11,500 head of outstanding Droughtmaster cattle and will become a key part in the supply chain of the Forrests’ vertically integrated gate-to-plate beef business owned by Harvest Road Group.

In a joint statement Andrew and Nicola Forrest paid tribute to current co-owners of the pastoral lease, Keith and Karen Anderson, who have shown an unwavering commitment to sustainable agriculture and putting the environment first.

“We are humbled to be able to continue the legacy Keith and Karen Anderson have built,” the Forrests said.  “We intend to undertake a baseline native fauna study at Jubilee and we look forward to continuing this work with Keith and Karen who’ve had a lifetime’s experience of working in the Kimberley and protecting the environment, in particular on Jubilee Downs.

“Keith and Karen have reinforced to us how vital the cattle industry is to Western Australia and how the industry must continue to develop sustainable practices and regenerate the environment. The Andersons shared a strong belief that the Australian beef industry must add value throughout its supply chain, instead of just selling our live cattle for value adding to overseas markets, a view which we share.

“We are passionate about the unique environment of the Kimberley, and the precious waterway and lifeforce that is the Fitzroy River. We strongly believe in the principle of balancing the need for sustainable agriculture and job creation for local communities, with the need to preserve culture and heritage sites, while restoring the land and its original fauna to its natural habitat.”

The Forrests said they looked forward to working with and for the Traditional Custodians of the land – the Yi-Martuwarra people.

“We recognise the Yi-Martuwarra have been the guardians of this sacred Country for tens of thousands of years. We very much look forward to working with their local Elders and communities to ensure access, and to preserve and protect significant and sacred sites,” the Forrests said.

“The Forrest family has a long and proud history of working with Aboriginal Elders and their families for many generations and would be honoured to continue this work alongside you.

“We are deeply committed to Indigenous parity, including through Fortescue Metals Group, one of Australia’s largest employers of Aboriginal people and supporters of Indigenous business, as well as through our Generation One initiative at Minderoo Foundation.”

Since 2014, Harvest Road has owned and expanded Western Australia’s largest beef processing facility at Harvey, supplying both the domestic market and exporting to over 40 countries. The Forrests said Harvest Road had developed long-lasting partnerships with Western Australia’s leading beef producers.

“Harvest Road Group proudly works with cattle farmers throughout Western Australia who share our commitment of exceptional quality, sustainable practices, ethical principles and high standards of animal welfare and food safety. We have collaborated closely over many generations to ensure a consistent supply of the finest produce from ecologically sustainable sources,” they said.

Harvest Road currently manages five pastoral stations, covering 1.3 million hectares, including: Minderoo, Minderoo Coast (Urala Station), Minderoo South (Uaroo and Nanutarra Stations), Brick House and Minilya. They are also developing a major finishing facility at Koojan and this will be operated with Harvey Beef and its partners and clients in the South West to create an integrated Western Australian production hub.

The purchase of the Jubilee Downs and Quanbun Downs stations is the first by the Forrest family for several generations in the Kimberley, with the Kimberley originally having been explored by Alexander Forrest CMG.

Dr Andrew Forrest AO said he supported a recent decision by the WA Government to rename the King Leopold Ranges in the Kimberley to the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges.

“King Leopold’s legacy directly conflicts with the values of our Minderoo Foundation and our mission to end modern slavery through Walk Free,” Dr Forrest said. “This was the right decision and one my family and I fully support.”

Dr Forrest said the investment would strengthen Western Australia’s beef industry and link the Kimberley to Harvest Road’s world-leading feeding facility, currently being developed at Koojan in Western Australia’s wheatbelt.

“Our free-range finishing complex at Koojan is being developed in consultation with globally renowned expert on the humane treatment of livestock, Dr Temple Grandin,” Dr Forrest said.

“The establishment of Koojan will create an interlocking beef production chain from the North to the South of Western Australia, based on the best ecological planning, combining preservation and enhancement of the local environment.”

Part of Tattarang, Harvest Road Group is a vertically integrated agricultural investment company bringing Australia’s best produce to domestic and international markets.

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