Rangelands Policy Dialogue: After drought and debt, what next?

Rangelands Policy Dialogue: After drought and debt, what next?


An interactive workshop in Brisbane will bring together people with knowledge of rural and regional Queensland to craft a strategy that can lead the pastoral industry to a future that is sustainably profitable and environmentally sustainable. The scope will cover drought policy, stewardship incentives, climate change and many other themes. A flyer is available for downloading.

The event will be hosted by The Royal Society of Queensland, the state’s senior scientific society, co-organised with AgForce, representing broadacre rural industry and NRM Regions Queensland, representing the 12 regional NRM bodies.

The reasoning behind the meeting is that the current dis-coordinated mix of rural policies and market forces does not methodically lead pastoralists to a sustainable future, restoring the natural capital of Queensland’s landscapes and the well-being of its human communities.

Policy settings need amendment to incentivise landholders to preserve ecosystem functions, more funding needs to be invested in managing our pastoral landscapes, population drift must be reversed, and new thinking is required to manage drought and floods in an era of climate change. A ‘roadmap” is required to allow the potential of the Government’s Land Restoration Fund to energise a transition to sustainability to be fulfilled.

Invitations are being sent to policy-aware individuals and organisations involved in rural affairs. Representation is sought from as wide a range of sectoral groups, scholarly disciplines, departmental portfolios and community organisations as practicable. Public servants and political staffers will be welcome, but will not be expected to participate in crafting the resulting declaration. Chatham House rules will operate (no attribution without consent).

Unlike standard conferences, most of the time will be given over to discussion. The end output sought will be a “Rangelands Roadmap” that, after ratification by stakeholder organisations, will be presented as a declaration to political leaders at a subsequent event.

The reasons for holding this event and the outcomes sought are explained further in the attached revised Rationale and Program Outline.

Those who believe that they may have something to contribute – either as an attendee or as a panellist – may contact admin@royalsocietyqld.org . Attendance is by invitation.


Major sponsor:  This event is sponsored by the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science. Its “$500 million Land Restoration Fund will support Queensland-based land sector carbon farming projects that deliver environmental, social and economic co-benefits for land managers, their communities, and ecosystems.”

Foyer sponsors

The foyer has been booked for both days and space is available for poster displays, sponsors’ tables and NFP societies. Contact admin AT royalsocietyqld.org to book a table.

Venue, dates and times

Monday 1 July 2019, 10.00am – 5.00pm, Auditorium, Ground Floor 111 George St. Brisbane.

Tuesday 2 July 2019, 9.00am – 5.00pm, Auditorium, Ground Floor, 111 George St. Brisbane.

Dinner for delegates (optional) will be held at a venue to be determined at a cost per delegate to be determined.

The event has been deferred from the earlier proposed 1,2,3 May.


A full program with speakers identified will be available here in mid-May.

Further Reading

The Dialogue was triggered by the launch on 28 May 2018 by the Society of a Discussion Paper From Red to Green to Black . The paper argued that the income that pastoralists receive from sale of commodities is disconnected from the costs of running their enterprises. Further that landholders produce ecosystem services (fresh air, fresh water, biodiversity) for which traditional markets do not reimburse them. Since the paper’s release, drought has tightened its grip and climate change has embedded itself into landholders’ sights.

Panellists’ Presentations

The presentation that Dr Geoff Edwards delivered in May 2018 has been edited to emphasise that stewardship incentives are only one tool and that a much broader re-calibration of policy is now required. Stewardship Presentation . (More to come).

Rangelands Briefs

Briefing papers tabled for the meeting. Every attendee is invited to contribute a “Rangelands Brief” of up to two pages to be web-published here. Responsibility for these briefs is accepted by the author: they are not endorsed by The Royal Society of Queensland. Consult the Style Guide before commencing.

Non-peer-reviewed briefs

Paul Sattler: Key Initiatives by the Royal Society of Queensland in the Conservation and Management of the State’s Rangelands.

Geoff Edwards: As if for 1000 years: A land-use planning authority for Queensland?

Rowley Hutchinson: Rangelands Challenges.

Don Keith: Flowering Times (to come).

Alan Lauder: Carbon Stocks and Flows (to come).

David Marlow: Small Water Cycles (to come).


Peer-reviewed briefs

Background reading

For additional background reading on rural affairs, refer to our Background Reading page.