Rangeland reform must be prioritised to protect our outback: Greens

Friday 12 October

The WA Greens have called on the state Government to heed advice on the governance and ecological sustainability of our state’s pastoral lands, after the findings of an audit tabled to Parliament yesterday revealed decades of policy failure.

Environment and Lands spokesperson Robin Chapple MLC said it was clear in the report released by the Auditor General that the Pastoral Lands Board (PLB) was no longer able to fulfil its environmental responsibilities, leading to a serious decline in rangeland condition across WA’s iconic outback.

“The PLB is reliant on Limited Lease Monitoring to assess rangeland condition, which has declined from a frankly unacceptably low 15 per cent of all leases assessed in 2009 to now less than just 3 per cent per year,” Mr Chapple said.

“We’re seeing significant decline in rangeland health over the last 50 years or more and whilst the Auditor General has identified some avenues for rectifying the issue, the Greens believe much broader reform is needed to solve this outback crisis.

“Fundamentally, we need to overhaul the way our pastoral lands are managed and put in place new policy and management infrastructure to deal with the contemporary environment, otherwise we will continue to fail at every level.

“There has been serious discussion about how rangelands reform must be addressed over the last decade or more and that work has ultimately gone nowhere. I implore the Government to revive that discussion as a matter of priority.

“Many of our pastoral leases include at-risk populations of threatened species, sensitive wetland areas and other fragile ecosystems that have been in significant decline for decades with limited progress towards halting that decline.

“A serious change in policy is critical if we are to preserve our precious Kimberley for future generations and tourism aspirations, and I call on the new Labor Government to prioritise rangeland reform.”

Media contact

Tim Oliver - 0431 9696 25

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