The McGowan Government has today unveiled its Pastoral Lands Reform package to drive sustainable development and better land management while supporting pastoralists across Western Australia.
The suite of measures will enhance land management and improve security of tenure, along with encouraging development and diversification on the pastoral estate.
Enhanced land condition monitoring will deliver increased knowledge of the pastoral estate and support improved land condition through encouragement of best practices.
An integrated risk-based approach to land condition monitoring and compliance on the pastoral estate will be developed in partnership between Government, the Pastoral Lands Board, the pastoral industry, native title holders and other key stakeholders.
Modern pastoralism requires extensive capital investment, and improved security of tenure for pastoralists will minimise the uncertainty and risk of investment.
Measures aimed at encouraging development and diversification on the pastoral estate will give pastoralists confidence to explore complementary income from sources other than livestock, including:
- statutory right of pastoral lease renewal, subject to compliance with lease and statutory conditions;
- ability to increase lease term to 50 years, subject to the Native Title Act 1993;
- statutory right to transfer diversification permits upon transfer of the lease, subject to compliance with permit conditions, to remove uncertainty about capital investment in non-pastoral activities conducted under a diversification permit; and
- streamlining inter-agency approval processes for permits to increase transparency and introduce options for fast-tracking where applicable.
Pastoralists opting in to a voluntary accreditation system to be co-designed by Government and the pastoral industry will be able to take full advantage of the new measures.
Further formal consultation will begin once draft amendments to the Land Administration Act 1997 have been completed.
As stated by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“The pastoral industry is a critical part of WA’s economy, history and culture: through this Pastoral Lands Reform package, the McGowan Government is supporting the ongoing success of the industry and the future sustainability of the pastoral estate.
“This is a considered and modest package, based on extensive industry consultation, to support pastoralists to develop business models that improve land condition, grow their business and broaden their income streams through diversification, and in turn create jobs for regional WA.
“Report after report has told us that land conditions in the rangelands have deteriorated for decades, and a fundamental redesign of our monitoring and compliance regime in the pastoral estate is essential: this package will boost that effort and develop a new approach in partnership with industry.
“Providing security of tenure and measures to encourage diversification will help ensure our pastoralists continue to play an important role in our State’s future.”
As stated by Lands Minister Ben Wyatt:
“The pastoral estate covers more than 860,000 square kilometres and is a significant asset to our State.
“This reform focuses on long-term, sustainable management and improving the condition of significant parts of the pastoral estate.
“With the work of the Pastoral Lands Board and better monitoring, we will improve our understanding of the land and support better land management.
“The McGowan Government is committed to a more productive use of pastoral leases incorporating agreement and benefit of the relevant native title holders.”