Stock theft in the NT

The Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) collaborates with Northern Territory Police for investigations into stock theft and ownership disputes in accordance with public service and legislative requirements. Theft of property, which includes theft of cattle, is a criminal offence under the NT Criminal Code Act 1983 and is managed by NT Police.

The Livestock Act 2008 and Livestock Regulations underpin the livestock identification and movement requirements for livestock in the Territory. This includes:

  • brands
  • waybills
  • NT Health Certificates (including waybills)
  • declared area movement permits
  • National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

It should be noted that a registered NT brand is the only true proof of ownership of livestock in the NT. Cross branding of purchased cattle is an accepted industry practice but not a legal requirement under the livestock legislation. A receipt of purchase would be required for proof of ownership if cattle were not cross-branded with supporting movement documents.

All suspicions of stock theft should be reported to your local police. The Major Crime Unit from NT Police will lead the investigation with assistance from DPIR Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officers on non-compliance matters relating to brands, NLIS, and movement documentation.

Last updated: 28 September 2020

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