South Australian pastoralists would have greater certainty to plan ahead and invest with leases extended from 42 years up to 100 years under the Marshall Liberal Government's draft Pastoral Lands Bill released for public consultation today.
A major review of the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989 began last year after industry recognised it had become outdated.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the draft legislation is aimed at supporting the continued economic growth of the state's pastoral industry, while ensuring the sustainable conservation of the rangelands for future generations.
"South Australia's pastoral rangelands are a critical economic driver and cover over 40 per cent of the state with 323 individual pastoral leases," said Minister Basham.
"Given the importance of this draft legislation, we have undertaken significant consultation with pastoralists and key stakeholders, with more than 250 submissions received following the release of an initial discussion paper.
"The Marshall Liberal Government wants to boost livestock activities on our pastoral lands and modernise the current Act to incorporate a number of initiatives such as recognising the benefits of technology in the vast lands.
"Feedback from stakeholders showed clear demand and support for greater flexibility under the Bill to allow appropriate alternative land-uses which are complimentary to pastoralism and would boost enterprise profitability.
"This will ensure our pastoralists are to diversify, better manage income and seasonal variability."
"The new draft Bill continues to acknowledge the importance of this region to Aboriginal culture and communities and all rights of Aboriginal persons in the previous Act have been maintained."
Some of the key proposed improvements in the draft legislation includes:
- An obligation to maintain the land for pastoral activities.
- Allowing pastoral businesses to diversify, by undertaking alternative land uses on a lease where appropriate.
- Greater accountability and clarity of roles for government, lessees and the Pastoral Board.
- More frequent assessments, required every 10 years, using the latest technology.
- Public access routes to remain but will be more clearly geographically defined.
- Stronger compliance tools and penalties for those who misuse the land.
- Improvements to the interactions between related legislation including a requirement for the Minister to be consulted before any rights can be granted under another Act over a pastoral lease.
- Expansion of the potential uses of the Pastoral Lands Fund.
- Extending lease lengths from 42 years up to 100-year leases, to allow for long-term investment decisions.
The six-week consultation on the draft Bill will close on 18 October 2020 with the feedback received to inform the final Pastoral Lands Bill set to be introduced into Parliament in 2021.
Pastoral Act Review Team
Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA
GPO Box 1671
Adelaide SA 5001
Information relating to the development of the new Pastoral Lands Act can be found at www.pir.sa.gov.au/pastoral-act-review