Hancock Prospecting is divesting NT cattle stations

Gina Rinehart’s company will sell several cattle stations in northern Australia with reports suggesting that ‘government tape’ is hampering the firm’s ability to manage multiple large properties.

Hancock Prospecting, the company owned and chaired by mining magnate Gina Rinehart, will divest several cattle properties in northern Australia.

Agri Investor understands the properties include three cattle stations in the Northern Territory: the 147,000 ha Aroona Station; the 170,000 ha Willeroo Station; and the Riveren and Inverway stations which together cover more than 500,000 ha.

The Australian newspaper reported that the Phoenix Park live export depot and the Ruby Plains property in Western Australia, the latter owned by Rinehart’s S Kidman & Co joint venture rather than Hancock, were also up for sale.

Hancock Prospecting declined to disclose which properties were included but a spokesman confirmed that divestment was set to proceed after several acquisitions in recent years backed up by on-farm investment.

“Given inter alia the significant improvements and value creation that has been achieved from these investments, the company will now look to divest several properties to focus on more agricultural and cattle opportunities,” a Hancock spokesman said in a statement.

While Hancock did not detail the reasons for the sale when questioned, the firm pointed to National Agriculture and Related Industries Day, which Rinehart promotes and will take place this year on 21 November, as a chance to “make better known the government tape that is hampering our productivity, investment and future”.

“Government tape has increased 80-fold since the 1970s when the first environmental legislation was passed and tellingly, in that period, production has only doubled. Initially 57 pages, now there is something like 4,000 pages of legislation, regulation, green tape and red tape that impacts on what farmers do and our capacity to grow food for the rest of the world,” the spokesman said.

Hancock Prospecting last year acquired a cattle station in western New South Wales to support the growth of its 2GR Wagyu herd and brand. It also bought the 3,235 ha Glendon Park aggregation in NSW to increase its Wagyu herd.

Market sources told Agri Investor the divestments were unlikely to signal a broader shift away from farming and that Hancock may look to expand its interests beyond cattle production into other commodities.