Stewardship of Queensland’s pastoral zone

Stewardship of Queensland’s pastoral zone

  • What is the duty of care expected of  pastoralists in Queensland’s rangelands and who defines it?
  • To reduce the flow of sediment to the Great Barrier Reef, is tougher regulation – the stick approach – required, or would an incentive payment – the carrot approach – be more effective?
  • If the carrot approach, what justification is there for taxpayers to fund remedial works on private land?
  • Could trade in carbon credits pay for a general incentive payment?
  • Who should deliver the Queensland Government’s announced Land Restoration Fund?
  • Why is the Landcare movement languishing?
  • What can be done about regional youth unemployment now reportedly greater than 60%?

Photo courtesy Alan Lauder.

Proposal for incentive payments

These issues and more are explored in a Discussion Paper presented at a forum on 28 May 2018 in Brisbane, drafted by Dr Geoff Edwards with contributions from four other members. The Discussion Paper From Red to Black to Green was released on 20 June 2018 (3MB). The paper outlines a “stewardship incentives scheme” and a policy framework for the Land Restoration Fund announced during the 2017 State election campaign. The paper has not been formally endorsed by the Royal Society of Queensland: its status is as a submission TO the Society.

Note to those who read the draft version: The only significant change made in the published version is in the section on carbon trading, on new pages 46,47. The revised paper takes a more sceptical approach to the prospect of using carbon credits to fund land restoration.

The event was co-hosted by NRM Regions, the peak body for the regional natural resource management groups in Queensland. See Flyer for more details. Short presentations from panellists were followed by a brainstorm amongst knowledgeable and interested participants from the public service, agriculture, NRM, conservation and community sectors.

All those who wish to participate in subsequent dialogue are invited to join the Society – see Membership page.

Panellists

Dr Greg Leach – Agforce – Informal Response .

Dr April Reside – Centre for Biodiversity & Conservation, University of Queensland – Making Queensland Great Again . (4 MB).

Ms Megan Surawski – Department of Environment and Science – Land Restoration Fund .

Mr Stephen Robertson – NRM Regions Queensland – Sustainability in a Changing Climate . (4.5 MB, without video).

 

 

 

Critiques and responses to the proposal

There are many knowledgeable people in the pastoral industry, in government and in the scientific community with views about the sustainability of pastoral production in Queensland’s rangelands. Comments on the issues raised in the paper are welcome – please send to the President. Responses can be viewed on a separate Stewardship Responses page.

 

 

Source materials – Background reading

This section is reserved for authoritative reports and other resources relevant to the stewardship of Queensland’s pastoral zone.

Regional Natural Resource Management

Living Landscapes – a manifesto for rejuvenating NRM.

NRM Spatial Hub Final Report – A mapping tool to allow landholders access to the most up-to-date government datasets and satellite imagery, a wonderful initiative towards which numerous knowledgeable people have worked for many years, destined to never reach its potential because of the lack of a derisory quantum of public funding.

Information Hub and other bibliographies

Mulga lands Information Hub : South West NRM has compiled a comprehensive repository of reports, journal articles, books and other materials about the mulga lands specifically, but much of the material is referable to the pastoral zone generally.

Pasture and paddock management

A theory of carbon stocks and flows: A separate page explains the carbon grazing model of pasture management.

Property rights

Two papers written in 2002 when a vigorous debate was underway over whether graziers should be compensated for regulations preventing clearing of native vegetation. (The Government determined not to pay ‘compensation’ but to allocate funds for structural adjustment for properties rendered unviable):

Institutional Reform in Rural Australia: Defining and Allocating Property Rights – Synapse Consulting

Property Rights and Natural Resource Management – Ian Reeve.

Global reports

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, an initiative of the United Nations,  has released a report on global land degradation. The definition is somewhat broader than deterioration of soil and vegetation in pastoral rangelands, the focus of this page, but conveys and relevant and timely warnings.  The report observes that the “benefits of land restoration often exceed their costs, by far, sometimes by a factor of 10”.