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Senator Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Media Release

Draft Rangelands Strategy - Towards Ecologically Sustainable Development in the 'Outback'


18 July 1996

Commonwealth Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, welcomed the release today of the Draft National Strategy for Rangeland Management as a big step toward achieving ecologically sustainable development and commercial viability of Australia’s pastoral areas.

'One of the most serious environmental challenges facing Australia is land degradation, which continues to deplete our natural resources capital—our land, water and vegetation and the creatures dependent on them,’ the Minister said from Geneva today.

'The Coalition Government has made a commitment to protecting and rehabilitating Australia’s natural environment. The release of this Draft Strategy is significant in meeting that commitment’, he said.

'The industries (indigenous land management, pastoralism, mining, eco-tourism) and communities based in the rangelands rely on natural resources for their survival and prosperity.

Ecologically sustainable management of the rangelands is vitally important if those industries and communities are to meet their current needs while conserving the ecosystems and ecological processes on which life depends.

We must manage our rangelands as if we are here to stay rather than just passing through,’ Senator Hill said.

The Draft National Strategy for Rangeland Management was released today by Commonwealth Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson, and Queensland Minister for the Environment, Brian Littleproud.

'Rangelands are the 'outback'; with which Australians identify. They are crucial to our sense of place in this country, so it is vital we take a national approach when responding to very real concerns in the rangelands', Senator Hill said.

'We must also ensure that we consult widely on the Draft Strategy, particularly because of the diversity of community interest and the remote locations of many communities. My Department will ensure that the Draft Strategy is widely accessible.'

The Minister thanked the Working Group for their efforts and wide public consultation during preparation of the Draft Strategy and encouraged all Australians to make a constructive contribution to the development of a final Strategy and costed and prioritised Action Plan. For copies of the Draft Strategy call 1800 803 772.

For further information contact:

John Hewitt, (06) 277 7080

Commonwealth of Australia