Review of Pastoral Act provides opportunity to bring forward new ideas to South Australian land management

Mt Serle Station. Pic: E.Gilsenen-Reed

Mt Serle Station. Pic: E.Gilsenen-Reed

The Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989 guides the management, condition and use of pastoral lands in South Australia.

The pastoral lands covered by the Act make up approximately 42% of South Australia’s land area. The Act is currently under review, providing an opportunity to consider the future management and uses of these lands. Earlier this month a group of law, science, and economics academics from The University of Adelaide, including GFAR’s Associate Professor Patrick O’Connor, and four Adelaide law students, completed a detailed submission to the review of the Act.

The 30 page multidisciplinary submission focussed on the preservation of the rangelands for the future. The submission provides an opportunity to review what the community in pastoral regions, as well as the South Australian community at large, want from this portion of South Australia’s land area. The past has been devoted to pastoral production of sheep and cattle but the future may need to be very different. The authors note that climate change, ecological degradation, increased periods of drought, and extreme weather events all threaten the health of rangelands. They also argue that a new approach to managing these lands needs to recognize that different ecosystems are interconnected, and that the way the land has been divided up and managed over the last century won’t work into the future.

Associate Professor Patrick O’Connor noted that the review was an opportunity to inject “new ideas into decisions about how we manage this asset” and stressed that “pastoralists need flexibility and opportunities to provide a range of benefits from pastoral land, including carbon sequestration and ecotourism. However, the environmental benefits need to be better secured than they are under current pastoral arrangements”.

This blog was prepared with input from The University of Adelaide Law SchoolLaw students arid lands field trip from Pastoral Land Reform Project.

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