Soils Ministerial Advisory Committee makes progress

An aerial view of farmland
The Soils Ministerial Advisory Committee, to investigate the revival of the Soil and Land Conservation Council, is making progress ahead of its report date of March 2018.

A process is underway to resurrect the Soil and Land Conservation Council into a more modern body to protect the State’s soil resources.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced a Ministerial Advisory Committee would oversee the next incarnation of the council last December.

The Soils Ministerial Advisory Committee is led by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior soil scientist Tim Overheu. Other members of the committee include:

  • Associate Professor Fran Hoyle (Deputy Chair) – University of Western Australia
  • Andrew Watson – current Commissioner of Soil and Land Conservation
  • Annabelle Coppin – Pilbara pastoralist
  • Emma Mitchell – Gingin horticulturalist
  • Bob Nixon – Kalannie broadacre farmer
  • Burt Naude – soil scientist
  • Stephen Frost – Narrikup sheep producer
  • Assistant Professor Matthias Leopold – University of Western Australia
  • Jules Alvaro – Merredin grain producer.

The committee is charged with determining the membership, skills and functions required for a revitalised council to guide the development of new policies and strategies for sustainable land management in WA.

This will include a review of the Soil and Land Conservation Act 1945 to identify and explore soil health priorities in WA, with the view of initiating the development of a State Soil Health Strategy.

Land management and conservation has changed dramatically since the former Soil and Land Conservation Council last met in 2003.

The new council’s focus will be much broader than land clearing, embracing new science and approaches to resource protection and regenerative agriculture.

The Soils Ministerial Advisory Committee has met several times to discuss recent land resource issues and is due to report by the end of March 2018.

For more information contact Tim Overheu, Senior Research Officer, Albany on +61 (0)8 9892 8533.