CDU acts on Ombudsman’s recommendations 


Charles Darwin University has acted on almost all the recommendations made by the Northern Territory Ombudsman in her report into the treatment of livestock on Mataranka Station.

The Vice-Chancellor of CDU, Professor Barney Glover, said following the tabling of the report in the NT Parliament that the university had initiated a broad range of actions based on the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

Professor Glover said he deeply regretted the distress and suffering of livestock on the station, located about 85km south east of Katherine, and a management regime was now in place to ensure that the condition of the animals remained sound.

“The university largely accepts the recommendations contained in the report and we have already initiated action consistent with the key recommendations,” Professor Glover said.

He said, however, that media reports broadcast last night did not provide an accurate representation of the conditions currently on Mataranka Station or the actions taken by the University in connection to this matter.

These actions included:

* Reviewing the overall operations of the 770km2 station as a teaching and quasi commercial facility.

* Finalising a comprehensive audit by Deloitte of financial management, planning and operation of Mataranka Station since 2008.

* Reviewing the role, composition and function of CDU’s Animal Ethics Committee.

* Reviewing the policy framework concerning grievance and complaints handling at CDU.

* Substantially increasing investment in staffing, management and infrastructure support for Mataranka Station and Katherine Rural Campus.

“More needs to be done and will be done as an ongoing strategic priority for CDU,” Professor Glover said.

“The university accepts the Ombudsman’s view that the former station manager had a primary role in the operational failures that led to serious animal neglect at the station.” This station manager has since left CDU.
“We also believe that some of the problems associated with the stock were due to poor herd management and we deeply regrets this.”  Professor Glover said poor management practices and record keeping were experienced before the station manager was appointed in 2009.

“At August 2010 significant improvements had been made at the station with only a small number of cattle remaining in light condition.”

The Vice-Chancellor said the university had appointed respected primary producer Mrs Elaine Gardiner as Chair of the Mataranka Station Advisory Committee.

“The committee has made two inspections of the station since June this year and has reported satisfactory progress with management and stock condition,” Professor Glover said. The committee is due to make another inspection in December.

CDU has begun the recruitment process for a new station manager. Mr Garry Riggs, of nearby Lakefield Station, has been acting manager of Mataranka Station since June 2010 and will continue in that role until a permanent appointment is made.