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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

5 September 2006

Protecting our spectacular rangelands

The vast rangelands that cover much of Australia’s mainland will be better managed with a new series of guides launched today by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell.

Senator Campbell said the new guides, Managing for Biodiversity in the Rangelands, were an important practical tool to help manage the varied land use and environmental challenges across Australia.

“Rangelands cover more than 75 per cent of Australia’s landmass, and it is vital we understand how to manage them sustainably,” Senator Campbell said.

The scale and terrain of our rangelands is incredibly diverse, including the vast Mitchell grass plains of western Queensland; eucalypt woodland savannas stretching across the Top End from Cape York to the Kimberley; spinifex grasslands and red dunes of the arid centre, and mulga and saltbush country in western New South Wales and South Australia.

“The rangelands are home to some of our most amazing animals and plants and distinctive world renowned landscapes. They help support some of Australia’s most productive industries including mining, tourism, and beef, sheep and wool production,” Senator Campbell said.

“Their variable climate, low rainfall and low soil fertility make their management challenging. They are risk of native species loss from feral animals, changing fire and grazing regimes.

“Rangelands are a unique part of our vast continent and this guides will ensure the survival of these precious lands and diverse plants and animals for future generations.

“I am pleased launch this practical series of guides to Managing for Biodiversity in the Rangelands that will assist and better equip land managers with the tools to cope with these challenges.”

The guides cover management of fire, weeds, total grazing pressure; tools for assessing financial and environmental impacts of management options; and industry guidelines for sustainability.

The Australian Government uses a $1.6 million investment in the Australian Collaborative Rangelands Information System to monitor change in the rangelands. This partnership between governments compiles data on the nature and extent of environmental change in the rangelands to improve our understanding of the drivers of change and benefit rangelands managers.

Attached is a summary of titles in the ‘Managing for Biodiversity in the Rangelands’ series.

Managing for Biodiversity in the Rangelands series can be accessed at

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell's Office) 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902

Published titles in the Managing for Biodiversity in the Rangelands series

Fire management

The document provides information to improve the ability of rangeland managers to plan and implement fire management strategies relevant to the vegetation types. The document identifies and documents issues such as:

Management of total grazing pressure

Focusing on grazing land management zones (GLMZs) as being representative of regions with similar total grazing pressure and biodiversity characteristics, the document provides guidelines to assist in the management of total grazing pressure, particularly in relation to impacts on biodiversity.

Identifies knowledge gaps and priorities for future investment.

Industry guidelines for sustainability

Major industries based on natural resources in the rangelands include pastoralism, mining, tourism and defence or military uses. The governance of these industries – legislation, policies, incentives and compliance mechanisms – significant influences the degree to which these industries impact on their natural resource base.

The booklet presents an overview of the best management practice approaches used in these industries and discusses the governance arrangements that apply in each of the rangeland states and the Northern territory.

Assessing financial and environmental impacts of management options

Decisions responding to the need for new and different grazing land management practices are best made and implemented the property scale.

This guide describes a framework that land managers can use to help them decide how to balance environmental and economic considerations. It helps land managers assess production, economic and environmental impacts, and how they might trade off these impacts, to make better and more informed decisions about their management options.

Weed management

Weed invasions pose a major threat to the Australian rangeland ecosystems. They threaten individual species, communities of native plants and animals and they alter important ecological processes.

The report identifies the threats to the biodiversity of the Australian rangelands from weeds, as well as the weed management techniques that would be most effective given diverse tenures and land uses in extensive rangelands.

Further guides about feral animals, water management and biodiversity monitoring will be prepared and published in the future.

© Commonwealth of Australia