Program 1.2: Sustainable management - natural resources

​​​Program objectives

The objectives of this program are to:

  • strengthen the capacity for primary producers to use sustainable natural resource management practices in a changing climate
  • strengthen the national approach to weeds research.

Review of performance

This review addresses the deliverables identified in the 2011–12 Portfo​lio Budget Statements. Table 3 summarises the extent to which we have met key performance indicators.

Caring for our Country

Caring for our Country was launched in July 2008 to achieve an environment that is healthier, better protected, well managed and resilient and provides essential ecosystem services in a changing climate.

The initiative, worth $2 billion over five years, funds six national priority areas administered jointly by DAFF and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC):

  • the National Reserve System
  • biodiversity and natural icons
  • coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats
  • sustainable farm practices
  • natural resource management in northern and remote Australia
  • community skills, knowledge and engagement.

In 2011–12, a total of $442.8 million was spent on new and ongoing projects and activities. A total of $1.7 billion has been spent through the first four years of the initiative.

In the 2012–13 Budget, the government announced it would commit a further $2.2 billion for the next phase of Caring for our Country, from 2013–14 to 2017–18. The new phase will offer funding through two new streams, commencing in July 2013:

  • sustainable agriculture, managed by DAFF
  • sustainable environment, managed by SEWPaC.

Adoption of new management practices

Through Caring for our Country, we provide funding to groups to build the capacity of farmers to adopt land management practices that will improve soil condition and on-farm biodiversity conservation. The program aims to enhance the quality of ecosystem services delivered from agricultural lands.

Farm practice change in Australia is monitored through the biennial Australian Bureau of Statistics Agricultural Resource Management Survey. Analysis of the information provided from the 2009–10 survey indicates that:

  • ground cover management in Australia's broadacre agricultural industries is improving as a result of better tillage and residue management practices
  • more grazing farmers are actively monitoring ground cover levels
  • more than half the agricultural businesses that have native vegetation, wetlands and rivers and creeks on their farms are protecting them for conservation purposes.

Short reports have been published on improvements in practices adopted by producers in the beef cattle, sheep, broadacre cropping, dairy and horticulture industries. We provided funds to help monitor the impact of practice changes on the condition of the soil resource, including wind erosion and ground cover monitoring. The department also published a report that describes the longer term requirements for monitoring changes in soil acidification and soil carbon levels.

Two ABARES projects funded through Caring for our Country conducted national surveys of farmers in 2010–11 to help understand the motivations for adoption of sustainable farm practices, the sources of information and advice used by farmers and the drivers of and barriers to management of native vegetation on agricultural land. The results of this research are being finalised and are expected to be published by September 2012.

Natural resource management in northern and remote Australia

During 2011–12, we funded a range of activities across the Western Australian rangelands, Northern Territory, northern and western Queensland, western New South Wales and the northern half of South Australia.

In the Northern Territory, we are funding projects that help to limit the spread of Mimosa pigra, improve fire management and control feral pests across a range of sub-regions.

In Queensland, GhostNets Australia, together with 110 Indigenous rangers, removed 671 lost or abandoned fishing nets along 767 km of coastline. Weed management activities occurred on 120 562 hectares across the northwest of the state to eradicate five weeds of national significance (rubber vine, prickly acacia, parkinsonia, parthenium weed and athel pine). We also provided funds to control the spread of feral pigs along some inland rivers.

Case study

Looking to the skies to monitor the ground

The department is leading a national collaboration that uses satellite imagery of ground cover to help monitor the condition of Australia's grazing and broad acre cropping lands. The aim is to produce regular satellite-based updates of ground cover conditions across Australia, to assist the monitoring and reporting of ground cover change at national, state and regional scales.

The availability of a nationally agreed, reliable and cost effective basis for measuring and mapping ground cover using satellite imagery is critical for the assessment of environmental targets relating to soil condition and land management in Australia. Satellite data and a national network of field sites are used to monitor non-woody vegetation in contact with the soil surface. This information helps evaluate the risk of soil loss by wind and water and the potential to build soil carbon.

The project, coordinated for DAFF by ABARES, is a successful collaboration between state and territories agencies, CSIRO and the Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (TERN).

A national network of field sites has been established to measure ground cover using standard methods to validate more than 10 years of monthly satellite-derived estimates of the fractions of living vegetation, dry or dead vegetation and where the soil is bare. Field site measurements will help improve the satellite mapping over time. Datasets are freely available through the TERN National Computing Infrastructure.

Four men standing in a paddock using an instrument to measure the ground cover.
Neil Ackland, Kurt Tschirner, Michael Schmidt and Jock Duncan measuring ground cover at a cropping property near Jamestown in the South Australian rangelands
Photo: DAFF.

One project is assisting in the recovery of a million hectares damaged during the 2009 floods, through temporary exclusion from grazing and management of pest species, including weeds and feral pigs. Sustainable agriculture outcomes included developing and implementing natural resource management property mapping packages, with 15 land managers on properties covering an area of 288 753 hectares.

In the remote north of South Australia, we provided Indigenous groups with support, training and employment to enable participation in natural resource management and the recording of traditional ecological knowledge. Funding also assisted pastoral land managers to implement sustainable grazing practices to improve ground cover and manage erosion. Other projects controlled pest animals and plants to reduce their impact on South Australia's threatened flora and fauna.

In Western Australia, we approved projects to support pastoralists in the rangelands to undertake landscape-scale conservation and improve management practices. Other projects are:

  • supporting Indigenous traditional fire management in the Western Desert
  • helping pastoral land managers to implement sustainable grazing practices in the rangelands
  • assisting the Yawoorroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang Aboriginal Corporation to record Indigenous ecological knowledge.

Indigenous participation

Caring for our Country is drawing on the knowledge and skills of Indigenous people to protect the environment.

Investment through Caring for our Country is a part of a coordinated national approach to promoting Indigenous participation in primary industries. It supports the Standing Council on Primary Industries to pursue one of the Council of Australian Governments' strategic themes—Closing the Gap for Indigenous Australians.

We have been closely involved in the Invest Action Plan to increase employment and enterprise opportunities for Indigenous people in the natural resource management and primary industry sectors, and to include them in investment opportunities. Implementation of the plan began in 2010–11, with the endorsement of the Invest Implementation Plan. This plan sets out actions that natural resource management and primary industry agencies have agreed to deliver. It will build on the continuing development of Indigenous natural resource management and primary industry partnerships with state and local governments, key Indigenous bodies, regional natural resource management organisations and the corporate sector.

In 2011–12, Caring for our Country broadened the scope for Indigenous participation by introducing a new target 'to resource at least 20 projects that directly involve Indigenous organisations or groups to achieve Caring for our Country outcomes'. The activities we support will improve Indigenous participation in Caring for our Country, while increasing employment and enterprise opportunities.

Community skills, knowledge and engagement

Caring for our Country recognises that community groups play a vital role in managing and protecting our environment and productive land base. Building community skills, knowledge and engagement is an element of all Caring for our Country projects.

More targeted support is available through Community Action Grants. These small community grants have helped 974 rural, urban and Indigenous community groups protect and revitalise the Australian environment. Since July 2009, $21.6 million has been provided for 1239 projects by these groups. In 2011–12, some 362 projects were funded at a cost of more than $6.4 million, including $4.0 million for 220 Landcare projects and more than $721 000 shared among 38 projects being undertaken by Indigenous organisations.

Examples of the range of projects we supported are:

  • a fencing project to protect riparian vegetation
  • on-ground activities demonstrating practical ways to restore native habitat with sustainable farming techniques
  • a project to encourage farmers to undertake soil testing on Kangaroo Island to manage acidity
  • a project to develop demonstration sites to monitor and maintain dung beetle populations in northern New South Wales
  • a project to improve the management of important corridor links through planting of native trees and fencing of vulnerable areas in the Brisbane ranges.

Landcare

Landcare is a community-based approach that has played a major role in raising awareness of sustainable land management practices, influencing farming and land management practices and delivering environmental outcomes across Australian landscapes. Local group involvement has been the catalyst for voluntary community engagement, understanding and action in the development and adoption of sustainable land management practices. There are more than 6000 locally based Landcare groups across Australia.

In 2011–12, the government continued to support Landcare, allocating $36.8 million to undertake Landcare and sustainable agriculture projects at the local, regional and national level. Through the Caring for our Country 2011–12 annual business plan and Community Action Grants, around $21.3 million was invested in 284 projects in national priority areas.

Support continued for the SeaNet project, for which we provided $2.2 million over four years from 2009–10. The project has adopted a Landcare approach, which includes encouraging the professional fishing community to consider new practices, technologies and methods aimed at improving the sustainability of their industry.

Case study

Making sure the grass is green on both sides of the fence

Improving land management practices—particularly pasture management—can be vital to a farm's ability to withstand Australia's climatic extremes. A new project focusing on the benefits of perennial pasture species in reducing soil acidity, erosion and the decline of organic matter in soils, established 27 demonstration sites across Victoria to allow farmers and agriculture experts to share and develop management practices.

The demonstration sites incorporated sown and existing native species, depending on the soil type and landform. Temperate and summer active perennial species were used with the aim of protecting the soil and exploiting the rainfall from the summer storms that are increasing in frequency and intensity with climate change in Victoria. Fifteen farmers supported each demonstration site and participated in site planning, decision making and management. A control paddock was maintained to compare current practice with best practice and demonstrate the effect of the change in management practices.

A key finding from the project has been the demonstrated ability of deep-rooted perennial pasture species to maintain vegetation cover during climatic extremes and to respond quickly and productively when the climate is suitable. As well as using lucernes and perennial pasture mixes on more productive landscapes, farmers have expressed great interest in identifying and making better use of native perennial pastures on steeper slopes. Land class fencing—where specific soil or land types are separated by fencing to allow site-specific management—has proven very beneficial and, when combined with modified grazing practices, has been found to greatly increase the productivity and resilience of pastures.

To date, 617 beef and sheep farmers have directly improved their land management practices through rotational grazing, pasture topping, feed supplements, introducing dung beetles and managing ground cover in times of drought. A further 1310 farmers have improved their knowledge and skills through attending workshops and training sessions and say they have improved their perennial pasture establishment, management and monitoring.

The project also conducted field days that attracted 2477 farmers, who developed skills in pasture and ground cover management and natural resources management on their properties. The project ran from August 2009 to June 2012. The demonstrations were funded by Caring for our Country and integrated with the National EverGraze project.

Three men bending down to inspect seedlings in a paddock.
Tim and Richard Currie (left) inspect the germination of tall wheat sown as hedge rows on their newly sown Supporting Site with Andrew Spiers, agronomist and Supporting Site facilitator
Photo: DAFF.

We continued to assist Landcare Australia Limited by providing $1.4 million to promote Landcare through activities including state Landcare awards, a website and e-newsletters, the quarterly Landcare focus magazine, attracting corporate sponsorship and supporting community awareness and participation.

We also continued support for:

  • the Regional Landcare Facilitator Network—facilitators are employed in each of the 56 Natural Resource Management (NRM) regions at a cost of up to $33.6 million over four years. The facilitators link and support community Landcare and production groups involved in sustainable farming practices and natural resource management. They work closely with farmers, Indigenous Australians and other land managers to identify how they can participate in, and benefit from, the opportunities created by the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI)
  • a National Landcare Facilitator—this role helps to connect groups and communicate natural resource management programs, priorities and opportunities to the broader Landcare movement. The role also provides reports and advice to the minister and the department on the health of and opportunities for Landcare. Caring for our Country provides $500 000 a year to support this role until June 2013.

We provided funding to support state Landcare conferences during 2011–12, with preparations underway for the national Landcare Conference in September 2012. The conferences bring together community groups and professionals from across each state to share knowledge and information.

The department provides secretariat services to the Australian Landcare Council—the government's key advisory body on Landcare. During 2011–12, the council continued its work on the Australian Framework for Landcare. Following community feedback on the framework, the council released a draft action plan—'Community Call for Action'—in May 2012. The council has provided feedback on consultation papers for the CFI, the National Food Plan and the National Wildlife Corridors initiative. Advice provided to ministers included:

  • Indigenous participation rates in natural resource management, regional delivery and Landcare
  • recruitment and retention of volunteers
  • support for farmers to prepare and adapt to climate change
  • details of the next phase of Caring for our Country.

Regional natural resource management organisations

Caring for our Country provides base-level funding for the 56 regional natural resource management organisations that have a key role in managing their region's natural resources. They are also responsible for delivering Caring for our Country outcomes at the regional level. The organisations provide community leadership in their region and work in partnership with all tiers of government and with land managers, community groups, Indigenous groups, industry groups and researchers.

Monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement

The annual business plan for Caring for our Country sets the Australian Government's priorities and targets for investment. The plan is updated each year to reflect progress and to ensure that the initiative stays on track to achieve its five-year outcomes. The update process involves extensive consultation with stakeholders and has led to more tailored investment approaches and simpler application processes. We released the 2012–13 business plan and an improved application form in December 2011.

Caring for our Country is subject to a continuous cycle of monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement (MERI), undertaken by the government and funding recipients. The MERI strategy underpins the best possible return on investment, as well as accountability and transparency in expenditure of public funds. Managers of projects valued at more than $80  000 are required to develop a MERI plan. In 2010–11, all the relevant grantees completed these plans.

The first of the government's reports under the strategy, the Caring for our Country 2008–09 Annual Report Card, was released in October 2010 and the 2009–10 report card was released in January 2012. The report cards demonstrate a solid foundation for progress, putting us on track to achieve all of the five-year outcomes for Caring for our Country. The 2010–11 report card is expected to be released in late 2012. The annual report cards are available on the Caring for our Country website.

Review of Caring for our Country

During the year, DAFF and SEWPaC finalised the review of Caring for our Country. The report, released in April 2012, provides information on the review process and sets out findings on the initiative's appropriateness, efficiency and effectiveness.

The review has highlighted some aspects of Caring for our Country that could benefit from further refinement, including the monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement framework and consultation around the setting of outcomes and targets. Review findings and stakeholders' comments have also emphasised national priority areas where a more strategic approach to investment may be required in the future, such as the management of weeds and pest animals.

The review consulted more than 4000 stakeholders and included a specific process to look at Indigenous engagement in natural resource management. The review also sourced analysis and policy advice from within the Australian Government, including staff involved in the delivery of Caring for our Country and relevant policy areas. The wealth of feedback received through the review process will be fundamental to the implementation of the next phase of Caring for our Country.

Supporting national approaches

DAFF provided a national perspective on sustainable resource management in its policy advice to government through membership of ministerial council subcommittees and task groups. We also collaborated to implement or review national strategies.

National approach to sustainable agriculture

During the year, we commenced the development of a national sustainable agriculture framework. We held stakeholder meetings and an industry forum to gather views and information on key challenges and how these can be effectively addressed, including through an improved national investment framework. Based on this consultation, we will prepare a draft document in 2012–13 outlining possible approaches to sustainable agriculture in Australia.

National Vegetation Framework

As a member of the task group reviewing the 1999 National Framework for the Management and Monitoring of Australia's Native Vegetation, we have sought a balance between production and conservation and recognition of the important role rural landholders play in managing native vegetation.

The national framework is a guide to management decisions that affect native vegetation across jurisdictions and all sectors of the community. The framework aims to reverse the long-term decline of Australia's native vegetation and improve the condition of existing native vegetation. The revised framework, Australia's Native Vegetation Framework, is expected to be considered by the Standing Council on Environment and Water by the end of 2012.

Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

The department provided significant input into the Australian Government's response to the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which was released on 24 August 2011. The review aimed to avoid unintended impacts of the Act on industry to minimise compliance costs.

The government's response to the review aims to:

  • deliver better environmental protection by focusing on whole regions and ecosystems and delivering faster environmental assessments
  • provide a consistent national approach to environmental impact assessments that removes duplication and cuts red tape
  • provide better upfront guidance on legislation requirements, with more long-term certainty and transparency.

SEWPaC is responsible for implementing the reforms to the Act.

Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010–2030, launched in 2010–11, is a guiding framework to conserve Australia's biodiversity over the coming decades. It includes targets to:

  • reduce the impacts of invasive species on threatened species and ecosystems
  • double the value of complementary markets for ecosystem services, which may provide benefits to farmers, by 2015.

The Standing Council on Environment and Water has commissioned development of an implementation plan drawing together priority actions across jurisdictions for three national conservation policies: Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010–2030; the National Reserve System Strategy; and Australia's Native Vegetation Framework. DAFF will be consulted in the course of developing this implementation plan.

Soils research, development and extension

In March 2012, the Primary Industries Standing Committee agreed to the development of a national, cross-sector soils research, development and extension (RD&E) strategy under the National Primary Industries RD&E Framework, to be led by the department. The RD&E strategy will explore opportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness and help coordinate consideration of current and future RD&E needs for soils across sectors where there are common issues.

The department also contributes to the broader soils agenda through:

  • the National Committee on Soil and Terrain (NCST), which provides a national forum to discuss and exchange views and information on soils data and information needs. The department is an NCST member and provides secretariat support
  • the Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation Program
  • the Soil Task Group, which aims to adopt a more strategic approach to soil management
  • initiatives such as Caring for our Country and Landcare.

Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation Program

We provided funding to CSIRO for the jointly managed Australian Collaborative Land Evaluation Program, to facilitate improved access to Australian soils data and information through the national soils data base—the Australian Soil Resource Information System. The funding will also enhance the collection of soils held in the National Soil Archive and help improve data governance and the development of data collection protocols for consideration by the NCST.

Case study

Digging up the dirt on our soils

Unless we work in the primary industries or are avid gardeners, we probably don't look down to ponder the earth beneath our feet. Perhaps we should, because Australia's soils are a major national asset. They underpin our agricultural productivity and the capacity for agriculture to meet the challenges of climate change. Their management affects the quality of Australia's ecosystem: the air we breathe; the water we drink; the quality of the food and fibre products we use; and the biodiversity we depend on.

Building on Australia's world-class soils research and development, the department is leading development of a national strategy for soils research, development and extension (RD&E). The department has prepared a business case for the strategy and led the preparation of a stocktake of Australia's investment in soils RD&E.

The stocktake presented a picture of significant RD&E activity that is complex and largely uncoordinated. Soils RD&E capability and research expenditure ($124 million in 2010–11) is substantially greater than for most primary industry sectors except grains. The sector's funding is very sensitive to government budgetary pressures and changes in policies and programs. This sensitivity is all the more acute because soils RD&E is seen as enabling, rather than providing direct and immediately realised benefits to a particular industry.

As shown in Figure 16, the stocktake found that the largest RD&E expenditure was by state and territory agencies, but these agencies and the CSIRO generally reported a decline in funding. Universities almost matched this figure and indicated that their soils funding had increased during the past 5–10 years.

Figure 16 Expenditure of funds for soils RD&E by jurisdiction in 2010–11

DAFF is collaborating with other government agencies, research and development corporations, tertiary education, consultants and industry to develop the strategy. Opportunities identified in the stocktake include:

  • identifying a process for cross-sectoral soils RD&E co-investment
  • encouraging more collaborative use of physical infrastructure
  • developing an effective national soils data infrastructure
  • defining the roles and responsibilities or organisations involved in soils RD&E
  • improving extension services
  • increasing training and education.

The strategy will take 18 months to complete. More information about the stocktake is available on our website.

Reducing the impact of invasive species

Feral animals cost Australian governments and landholders more than $743 million a year in lost production, on-ground management and research. The bulk of this is in production losses, although more than $122 million is spent annually on control and research.

In a 2011 survey, land managers with a farm plan in operation indicated that they referred to this plan most frequently for farm financial or business activities and secondly for the management of weed threats. Weeds reduce agricultural productivity and damage the health and resilience of Australia's native animals and plants. Weeds are estimated to cost Australia more than $4 billion each year.

In 2011–12, Caring for our Country invested:

  • $5.5 million in 29 new projects targeting weeds of national significance
  • $1.5 million in 10 projects targeting vertebrate pest animals, including:
    • $496 000 for integrated feral animal control at the Ningaloo Coast WorldHeritage Area
    • $300 000 to facilitate coordinated vertebrate pest control across southernQueensland.
Invasive weeds

Invasive weeds have a major social, environmental and economic impact on farming, forestry and the natural environment. The overarching policy for weed management in Australia is the Australian Weeds Strategy (AWS), which is overseen by the Australian Weeds Committee. The department is a committee member, ensuring the government's position is represented and the committee's work aligns with national priorities and policies, including the current biosecurity reforms. The committee manages the list of Weeds of National Significance, which aims to take a strategic approach to the management of species that pose a major threat. In April 2012, another 12 weeds were added to the list.

In 2011–12, we provided $2 million for projects under the AWS, including:

  • a pilot national weed-spread prevention initiative
  • continuation of a national weed management facilitator
  • support for the implementation of the national strategies for Weeds of National Significance.

Highlights included achieving coordinated national action for priority weeds and weed problems and the development of a draft national surveillance framework for invasive plants. The initiative has improved links between current weed-spread prevention research and existing industry protocols to mitigate the spread of weeds.

The Australian Government committed $15.3 million over four years, through the National Weeds and Productivity Research Program, to research long-term solutions to the invasive weeds problem. This program finished on 30 June 2012, with more than 90 projects successfully completed. Highlights from the projects included:

  • development of practical methods for reducing weed seeds in agricultural systems without reliance on herbicides
  • identification of potential biological control agents for a range of weeds, including weeds of national significance
  • development of best-practice management methods for gamba grass and bellyache bush
  • preventative management strategies in agricultural systems to reduce the impact of high risk weed species favoured by climate change.

The program included a fireweed control research project, which contributed to the addition of fireweed as a Weed of National Significance in 2011–12.

Pest animals

We continued to work through the national Vertebrate Pests Committee to implement the Australian Pest Animal Strategy. The government continues to support national coordination and provided $430 000 in 2011–12 to implement the strategy, including a 50:50 cost-share component with state and territory governments to support a national coordinator.

This strategy provides a framework for all governments to work together in managing established pest animal species and preventing the introduction and spread of new pest animals into Australia.

In 2011–12, we worked with the committee on the development of a national categorisation system for vertebrate pest animals and weeds. The system will assist governments to prioritise resources for the management of vertebrate pest animals and will contribute to the current biosecurity reforms being implemented by the department. This work will be completed in 2012–13 and is expected to provide a standardised classification system that all jurisdictions can use for weeds and pest animals.

Fox eradication in Tasmania

The presence of foxes in Tasmania poses a significant threat to wildlife and agricultural industries. This threat is being combated through the Tasmanian Fox Eradication Program, which is jointly funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments. The program aims to ensure that a breeding population of foxes does not establish in Tasmania and thereby help protect the important agricultural enterprises and the unique wildlife of Tasmania. In 2011–12, funding of more than $2 million through Caring for our Country helped to implement a comprehensive plan for baiting and follow up monitoring.

Feral camels

There are an estimated one million feral camels in Australia's rangelands. These camels are causing significant environmental damage, particularly to desert aquatic ecosystems, to pastoral businesses (estimated at around $10 million a year) and to the infrastructure and amenity of small, isolated Indigenous communities.

We have supported the removal of more than 70 000 feral camels from lands in and around priority environmental assets through a combination of aerial culling, ground shooting for the pet meat trade and mustering for sale to abattoirs to process for local consumption and export.

The project involves 19 partners, most with land management responsibilities. Feral camels can move up to 70 kilometres a day and cooperation between adjoining landholders is essential for effective management. Importantly, the project has brokered partnerships between government agencies, pastoralists and Indigenous communities that will form the basis for ongoing feral camel management.

Key performance indicators

Table 3 Program 1.2: Sustainable management—natural resources—key performance indicators
Key performance indicator2011–12 targetAchievement
2011–122010–112009–10

Increase the number of land managers, primary producers and fishers who have improved their knowledge and skills in natural resource management and adoption of sustainable management practices a

8 400 farmers

Expected to be met

Expected to be met

Met

Performance: We are currently compiling the achievements relating to the 2011–12 targets for the 2011–12 Caring for our Country report card, which is expected to be released in early 2013.
This indicator combines two elements that were reported on separately in 2010–11:

  • improved knowledge and skills
  • adoption of sustainable management practices.

DAFF reported on these as 'deliverables' in 2009–10.

Increase the number of primary producers who have adopted activities that contribute to the conservation and protection of biodiversity a

1 675 farmers

Expected to be met

Expected to be met

Met

Performance: We are currently compiling the achievements relating to the 2011–12 targets for the 2011–12 Caring for our Country report card, which is expected to be released in early 2013.
DAFF reported on this as a 'deliverable' in 2009–10.

Increase the number of hectares of land that are under cropping, horticulture and grazing with improved practices a

23 500 hectares

Expected to be met

Expected to be met

Performance: We are currently compiling the achievements relating to the 2011–12 targets for the 2011–12 Caring for our Country report card, which is expected to be released in early 2013.

Increase the number of commercial fishers who have improved practices to optimise sustainability

85 fishers

Expected to be met

Expected to be met

Performance:We are currently compiling the achievements relating to the 2011–12 targets for the 2011–12 Caring for our Country report card, which is expected to be released in early 2013.

Minister/parliamentary secretary and executive satisfied with the quality and timeliness of policy advice and support

High level of satisfaction achieved

Met

Performance: DAFF has provided extensive policy advice and support to the minister and parliamentary secretary. This advice has been received with a high level of satisfaction. This is a new indicator.

a Key performance indicator measures are inclusive for all Caring for our Country investments. Refer also to the annual report of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Outlook for 2012–13

A report on the review of Caring for our Country was released in April 2012. Feedback gathered in the course of the review will help design the priorities and delivery mechanisms of the next phase and help to deliver more streamlined processes in the future. Targeted public consultation commenced in June 2012 to inform the development of the five-year outcomes and delivery approaches for the next phase of Caring for our Country (2013–18).

We will continue to focus on building the capacity of the Landcare movement. This will include supporting Landcare and sustainable farm practice projects through Caring for our Country and supporting the Landcare movement through a National Landcare Facilitator and Regional Landcare Facilitators. We will also continue our support for awareness raising and volunteer mobilisation activities, such as sponsoring national Landcare awards and the National Landcare Conference.

The department will continue to work in partnership with the states and territories, as well as a range of other stakeholders, to support strategic management of the impact of weeds and pest animals. Reviews of the Australian Weeds Strategy and the Australian Pest Animal Strategy to be completed during 2012–13 provide an opportunity to reflect on achievements to date and to ensure the strategies are aligned with current policies.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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