After a 16-year hiatus, the McGowan Government has resurrected the Soil and Land Conservation Council (SLCC) in an effort to protect and nurture Western Australia’s soil and land assets for future generations.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan today announced the 10 members of the new-look SLCC, who will provide advice to the Commissioner of Soil and Land Conservation under the Soil and Land Conservation Act (1945).
The Council will also provide policy advice to the Minister on soil and land conservation programs run by the State and Federal governments.
Their first major goal is to implement the draft State Soil Health Strategy, addressing key soil issues in WA such as salinity and soil carbon.
Another issue on the Council’s radar is addressing land degradation, estimated to cost WA’s agricultural production sector more than $2 billion each year, as well as the impact of climate change on soil health.
The new Soil and Land Conservation Council is made up of:
- Chairman, Dr Kevin Goss – agricultural consultant;
- Deputy Chair, Dr Hayley Norman – farming systems scientist;
- Robert Nixon – Kalannie farmer;
- Natarsha Woods – Wheatbelt NRM CEO;
- Dr Richard George – Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development hydrologist;
- Dr Lynne Johnston – farmer and business consultant;
- Doug Morgan – Main Roads WA executive;
- Adam Maskew – Department of Water and Environmental Regulation South West manager;
- Renata Paliskis – Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage director;
- Dylan Copeland – natural resource management consultant to local government; and
- Commissioner, Andrew ‘Nick’ Watson – long serving agricultural scientist.
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“A strong agricultural industry starts from the ground up – we need to be focused on the health and quality of our land.
“Brushing the dust off the Soil and Land Conservation Council will help provide direction on improving soil conditions across our vast State.
“Our Government is taking proactive steps in safeguarding WA’s valuable soil and land resources – the foundations of our agricultural industry.
“Renowned agricultural scientist Dr Kevin Goss will head up the Council, supported by a diverse team with a wealth of different knowledge pools.
“The Soils Ministerial Advisory Committee is to be congratulated for its efforts over the past year in supporting this re-establishment process and drafting the State Soil Health Strategy.”