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Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association

Taskforce Starlight established to combat stock theft in the NT

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The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) is pleased to announce the formation of Taskforce Starlight, a collaboration between NT Police, Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (DITT) Livestock Biosecurity and the NTCA to combat stock theft in the Northern Territory.

NTCA Acting CEO Romy Carey said the organisation was excited about new taskforce which will significantly reduce stock crimes across the NT.

“Over the years NT pastoralists have had to deal with a lot of stock related crime – from the theft of an animal or two, to calculated large-scale pilfering operations,” Mrs Carey said. “All theft has serious impacts on pastoralists. The NTCA is excited that Taskforce Starlight has been established in a bid to improve reporting procedures and the investigation process into reports of alleged stock theft.”

Taskforce Starlight will consist of a planning team as well as strategic operations teams made up of veterinary officers, livestock biosecurity officers and NT Police officers, based in Katherine, Darwin, Adelaide River, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.

As part of the Taskforce, NT Police will be appointed under the Livestock Act to enable further powers for investigation; and a joint awareness training program between police and DITT Livestock Inspectors is being set up to enhance investigation interoperability.

As the Minister responsible for Police, Fire and Emergency Services as well as Agribusiness, Nicole Manison said she was pleased to help deliver this important inter-agency Taskforce combat stock theft.

“The cattle industry is big part of our economy and we will continue to do everything we can to support it. 

“It’s great to have government, industry and NT Police collaborating and ensuring we are doing everything we can to prevent and solve stock related crimes in the Territory”.

Mrs Carey said the NT cattle industry had long fought for the formation of an official taskforce with the powers to combat stock crime, and pastoralists were welcoming the announcement of Taskforce Starlight.

“This is a big day for our industry and a fantastic initiative,” Mrs Carey said. 

Deputy NT Police Commissioner Murray Smalpage APM said the taskforce had the support “from the highest levels of police” and would “shine a light in the dark corners” of stock crime across the NT.

Set up for 12 months, Taskforce Starlight will also review the Livestock Act to tighten legislative gaps, hold action days across the NT and roll out an awareness program to improve reporting processes. 

“The NTCA would like to thank the Minister for Agribusiness, Hon. Nicole Manison, NT Police and Chief Inspector of Livestock Sue Fitzpatrick, for their hard work in establishing Taskforce Starlight, and on behalf of all NTCA members we look forward to working with the Taskforce.”

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