As the cattle industry continues to suffer and businesses struggle to recruit and retain Aboriginal staff, Home Valley Station in the Kimberley has created a revenue stream and exceeded indigenous jobs targets by diversifying into pastoral-based tourism.
The Indigenous Land Corporation bought the run-down cattle station, 110km from Kununurra, in 1999.
Today, after a major refurbishment, it is a prosperous business and popular tourist destination with about 70 per cent of its 51 staff Aboriginal.
Home Valley manager Chris Fenech said activities such as musters and horse riding were available for tourists.
"Without diversification, we may not be standing here today," Mr Fenech said.
"The reliance is not so heavily placed on the outcome of the pastoral side of business . . . and it makes sure that the station's success is long-term."
The station was now on its sixth annual intake of Aboriginal trainees.
Many graduates had become full-time staffers who were integral to the station's success, including the catering manager, front office manager and head stockman.
Many like Kareem Hunter came from Wyndham and had seized the chance to work full-time while staying close to family and country. Mr Hunter started his traineeship only two months ago but he already knows he wants to stay on.
"I'm learning new things every day," he said.
The State Government is considering options to expand diversification under its rangelands reform program, with draft legislation due out this year.One option would allow broader scale uses of land for enterprises such as tourism, mining and carbon farming.
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