Ranglelands receives $2.25 million

Rebecca Turner

The State Government has announced $2.25 million in Royalties for Regions funding for the formation of a project team to implement plans to unlock the potential of WA’s Rangelands.

Regional Development and Lands Minister Brendon Grylls said the aim of the project team was to find ways to give pastoralists more flexibility and freedom in how they could earn a living.

“At present, the range of activities pastoralists can undertake on their leases is restricted to a very narrow interpretation of what are considered traditional pastoral practices, ” Mr Grylls said.

“We want to encourage investment in the industry and make it easier for pastoralists to find other ways to earn an income or expand their business.”

In conjunction with other government agencies and the Pastoral Lands Board, the Department of Regional Development and Lands will begin work in 2011 towards drafting changes to the Lands Administration Act 1997 to allow leaseholders increased capacity to diversify operations.

Mr Grylls said several alternative tenure options were being explored, such as perpetual pastoral leases, a Rangelands Lease that provides for multiple land use instead of, or in addition to, traditional pastoral operations and reviewing existing permitting arrangements.

The project team is part of the Rangelands Reform Program, which has the aim of building on the work of the Southern Rangelands and Pastoral Diversification reviews instigated last year by Agriculture Minister Terry Redman.

“Another key element of this reform program will be the creation of a one-stop shop to reduce red tape and streamline the process for approving pastoral lease diversification applications, ” Mr Redman said.

Wendy Duncan MLC, who chaired the Southern Rangelands Review, has been asked by the ministers to take a lead role in consulting with stakeholders to deliver the program.

“We’ll look at this property by property, considering the long-term survival of the rangelands, ” she said.