Drought and the Pastoral Industry ~ Policy Needs to Ensure a Sustainable Future for the Pastoral Industry & Regional Australia: FAQs

(Posted 12 December 2019)

TAGS: Drought; Impacts: paddock level - property level - regional level – State/National Level; Impacts: ecology – economics – social; living area; land degradation; sustainability; resilience; risk management; preparedness; self-reliance; long-term viability; unintended outcomes

1.0   A severe drought now comparable with the big droughts of the past in Australia has developed across much of eastern and inland Australia.

2.0  As the drought extends and its impacts intensify, the call has been placed on Government for new drought policy measures for affected agricultural and pastoral landholders and regional communities.

3.0   But what form should the measures take? The history of drought policies in Australia has been problematic.

4.0   The scope of this article is to review key issues, framed as Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs"), that must be effectively addressed if new drought policies are to resonate with the contemporary needs in the pastoral zone.

5.0  Policy issues such as: living area standards, corporate and foreign investment, environmental impacts, unifying principles for drought policy, preparedness, self-reliance, risk management, resilience, unintended outcomes and meaningful involvement of pastoralists.


Dr Ted Christie proposed, planned and convened one of the earliest International Training Courses on “Desertification and Management of Arid and Semiarid Natural Grazing Lands” as part of Australia’s Foreign Aid program. Delegates from Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Sudan and Swaziland participated.


Pastoralism and Ecology in Arid Australia

Edward Christie (Longman Cheshire, Melbourne Australia)

There is no doubt that errors were made following European settlement of Australia’s arid and semiarid natural grazing lands. This book gives a balanced view of the major environmental problems caused by these errors.

The book makes the point that it would be inequitable to single out any one group such as pastoralists, land administrators, researchers or governments as being the major cause of these problems.

It highlights the fact that the management of arid lands is a complex issue which can best be resolved by examining the needs and concerns of competing land use interests.

The book also aims to remove any pessimism about the future of Australia’s arid and semiarid lands and explains how adopting appropriate principles, there is every reason for long-term optimism for their productive and sustainable use.

Drought, the Pastoral Industry and the Australian Environment:

Must History Repeat?

(Posted 28 September 2018)

TAGS: Drought management; decision-making; impacts; strategies; living area; economics; viability; risk management; preparedness; self-reliance; sustainability; land degradation

1.0   Droughts have long been an integral feature of the Australian environment.

2.0   Currently, the entire State of New South Wales is in a specific drought phase. Drought declarations represent 57.4% of the land area of the State of Queensland.

3.0   Drought policies by Government focus on financial assistance to prepare for and manage the effects of drought. But, more than financial aid is needed.

4.0   One review of past drought policies concluded that “Successive generations of drought policy have been tried, reviewed, found wanting and replaced, in a process that’s depressingly circular”.

5.0   An assessment of past drought policies identifies three cornerstones that,together, could provide the framework for a future drought management policy for the pastoral industry: Preparedness ~Risk Management ~ Self-Reliance.

6.0   The unifying link between the cornerstones is the "Living Area" concept as it acts as a guide as to what constitutes an economically viable agricultural enterprise.





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