National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

Prepared by the Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering Committee
Endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments
December, 1992
ISBN 0 644 27253 8

Agriculture
Part 2 Sectoral Issues - Chapter 1

Challenge

To facilitate the ecologically sustainable development of agricultural industries so that they contribute to long-term productivity and to Australia's economic well-being, and protect the biological and physical resource base on which agricultural industries depend, and improve human health and safety.

Strategic Approach

Governments will achieve this by promoting initiatives which support the sustainable use of Australia's land and water resources to improve the long term profitability of agriculture, contribute to the viability of other sectors such as freshwater fisheries and tourism, address areas affected by land degradation, and maintain ecological systems and protect biodiversity. Cooperative action by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, the community and the agricultural sector has been the hallmark of resource management in agriculture. Many of the following actions build on this base, with State and Territory agencies having major responsibility for implementation.

Objective 1.1

  • to create a framework of integrated government policies and programs in which promote community-based self-reliant approaches to agricultural resource management
Governments will:
  • continue to improve mechanisms for community participation in decision making on agricultural resource management issues such as the establishment of the National Landcare Advisory Committee and wider community representation on National Landcare Program State Assessment Panels
  • improve access to funding through simplification of application and assessment procedures for groups seeking assistance under resource management programs
  • review the consultation and approval procedures applying to commercial agricultural projects with the objective of improving the efficiency of the decision-making process
  • improve integration of the agricultural and natural resource policy management responsibilities of Ministerial Councils
  • establish terms and conditions for leasehold land which encourage sustainable management
  • enhance the role of integrated and total catchment management in policies and programs

Objective 1.2

  • to promote integrated planning of agricultural resource management, in particular in areas affected by land degradation, and extend measures, particularly community based self-help approaches, which encourage information transfer and landholder adoption of sustainable management

Governments will:

  • continue to promote collective or group approaches to sustainable resources management
  • continue to support the training of land managers in farm planning skills and provide direct support for the preparation of whole-farm plans through the National Landcare Program
  • promote both the development and adoption of whole-farm plans which encompass management of all physical and financial resources, and the integration of whole-farm plans with regional and catchment plans
  • develop, in the context of the National Drought Policy, mechanisms for incorporating better business and climatic risk assessments into farm planning
  • improve extension services to raise the technical and advisory skills of those facilitating and coordinating collective or community-based groups
  • at the Commonwealth level, encourage research for sustainable land and water management with an emphasis on collaborative ventures with existing commodity-based rural Research and Development Corporations, including for integrated pest management and decision support systems
  • develop mechanisms for evaluating effectiveness of policies such as the three-yearly reviews of progress towards achieving Decade of Landcare goals

Objective 1.3

  • to reduce and manage effectively the impacts of pest plant and animal species on Australia's agricultural areas

Governments will:

  • give priority to rapid completion and implementation of national and regional strategic plans for the management of pests and weeds, in particular the National Strategy on the Management of Vertebrate Pests, and the National Weeds Strategy
  • continue to work through the IGAE to coordinate effectively a national approach to the control of introduced animals and plants which pose a threat to the natural environment and farming

Objective 1.4

  • to improve kangaroo management at the national level, including the removal of impediments to a sustainable commercial kangaroo industry

Governments will:

  • work towards an integrated, and coordinated kangaroo management strategy which is based on development of national guidelines for kangaroo management, the use of market mechanisms such as individual tradeable quotas and the early finalisation of National Game Meat Standards

Objective 1.5

  • to improve effective and safe management of agricultural and veterinary chemicals while improving levels of, and access to information on these chemicals

Governments will:

  • implement the national scheme for the evaluation and registration of agricultural chemicals
  • at the Commonwealth level, ensure that coverage of the National Residues Survey and Australian Market Basket Survey meet necessary information requirements and that this information is widely disseminated
  • assess the merits of setting indicative national targets for the use of selected agricultural and veterinary chemicals
  • at the Commonwealth level, examine the possibility of commencing surveys to monitor agricultural chemical residues in wildlife and the wider environment