Ex-Ningaloo Station managers to appeal Supreme Court dismissal

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
Jane Lefroy from Ningaloo Station.
Camera IconJane Lefroy from Ningaloo Station. Credit: WA News

A protracted legal dispute over the future of Ningaloo Station is not over yet, despite the WA Supreme Court dismissing a case from the former managers to keep the Lefroy’s legacy property.

Jane Lefroy and Phil Kendrick have fought to hold on to the property since 2015, when the lease was extinguished over disagreements to the State Government’s excise of coastal land which the station had derived income from camping.

Supreme Court Justice Janine Pritchard dismissed the plaintiffs’ arguments for a new lease or compensation orders in March.

“The question of the plaintiffs' entitlement to a new lease, or to compensation, now having been determined, there is no reason to doubt that the Minister will promptly request the Valuer-General to undertake the assessment of compensation, and that the Valuer-General will do so,” she said.

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Mr Kendrick said the couple would appeal the decision, and still held hope for a compromise.

“One example would be to turn all of Ningaloo Station into conservation reserve and we will de-stock, but if we de-stock we need to consider where we get our income from,” he said.

“Everything is on the table.

“People still want to enjoy a choice of having to go to a 5-star hotel or to camp in the middle of nowhere with no facilities.”

Mr Kendrick said the station received as many as 100 emails a day in support of remaining in pastoral hands.

The appeal comes as the State Government presses ahead with management plans for the Red Bluff to Winderabandi Point coastal strip.

Former Exmouth Gulf Station manager Brett Lefroy said the plan was in the best interests of the station’s health.

“I would like to say on behalf of the wider Lefroy family formerly from Exmouth Gulf Station that we support the decision handed down by the courts to resume Ningaloo Station,” he said.

“Ningaloo needs to be handed back to the State Government so that it can be correctly cared for and preserved to ensure that our generation and future generations may continue to enjoy this very unique, fragile and beautiful region.”

A draft plan is open for public comment until May 14. It would see further built accommodation stopped and addition of more camping areas limited.

Dogs would only be allowed in designated areas and camp fires only at permitted sites. Off-road motorbikes would be banned and many tracks closed for dune rehabilitation.

The area would be jointly managed by the State Government and Gnulli traditional owners.

More than 2,000 people signed a petition to prevent the land grab in 2015. A similar petition for the neighbouring Warroora Station gained nearly 5,000 signatures.

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