The Outback is one of the few remaining great regions of nature, and today a new study reveals an urgent truth: our Outback needs more people to care for it and to prevent permanent loss of the unique native species and rich cultural heritage.
Australia’s Outback is a landscape that has been inhabited by people for 50,000 years, yet despite this, it is unencumbered by the type of industry and development that has permanently altered many of the planet’s other great ecosystems.
In the Outback, rivers still flow freely, wildlife migrates unchanged across the landscape, and the people who live and work in the Outback have an unparalleled connection to landscape and nature.
The vast Great Western Woodlands are the largest intact, temperate woodlands in the world. They feature in the new Outback Papers, along with the story of Ngadju Conservation, who are coordinating Indigenous-led conservation of this amazing part of Western Australia. Photo: Kerry Trapnell
Today, the national launch of a new study by The Pew Charitable Trusts will take place in Perth, and it adds further weight to a counterintuitive fact, identified in Pew’s research over the past six years:
The Outback needs people, and right now, with fewer people in the Outback than at any time in the past 50,000 years, much of what makes the Outback special is at risk.
In many parts of the Outback, native animals such as the Bilby became locally extinct when people left the land and no longer managed it. This new study, My Country, Our Outback: Voices from the Land on Hope and Change in Australia’s Heartland, adds weight and urgency to calls for more options for people in the Outback, so they can remain on the land, looking after it on behalf of all of us.
My Country, Our Outback is the second in Pew’s The Outback Papers series, and it features twelve case studies of land managers around Australia who are working to help shape a modern Outback that sustains both people and nature.
A mother mala and her joey at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary on the New South Wales-South Australian border. These small marsupials are now extinct in the wild, but private conservation is allowing these animals to recover their numbers in the safety of a managed predator-proof area. Photo: Kerry Trapnell
The study reveals three key steps to achieving a healthy Outback and safeguarding the heart of Australia. These are:
- Attract more people to manage the land
- Reform outdated laws that hold back innovation
- Support success and boost Indigenous-led conservation
Here in Western Australia, the WA Government has committed to reforming outdated pastoral lease laws - a much-needed first step towards a modern Outback. Reform will allow pastoralists to diversify into other more sustainable land uses like carbon farming and tourism, helping more people to stay on the land in the long term.
Want to win a copy of My Country, Our Outback? We've got three on offer for lucky Outback supporters – please email firstname.lastname@example.org by 14 July 2017 with your name and address, and we’ll draw three names to receive a copy of this amazing publication. You can also download a PDF of the new publication.
Stay tuned on our Facebook page for further updates – we’ll post excerpts and photos from the book in coming weeks so you can read more of the inspiring stories of Australia’s Outback land managers.