Create a modern Outback
The Modern Outback is the vast heartland of Australia. It's one of the world's last great natural places and generates much of Australia's wealth.
Its extraordinary natural environments support people, jobs, and economies. Covering around 89 per cent of WA's landmass and less than two per cent of the population living there, the Outback faces serious challenges. Many regions are in long-term environmental, social and economic decline, consequences of the productivity of the land and the wellbeing of both people and nature.
To create a Modern Outback we must face the serious challenges of long-term environmental, social and economic decline - as well as the consequences of invasive feral species and uncontrolled wildfires.
The WA Outback needs people to manage the threats it faces, but due to the lack of opportunities there are too few people tending these lands and parts of the Outback are faltering.
Part of the solution is to address barriers for landholders and create incentives to support diverse land uses that will bring more opportunity to the regions and help restore the environment.
Addressing these long-term challenges has great potential to provide a more diversified, resilient and inclusive economy, alongside the environmental and climate change mitigation benefits of protecting and restoring the Outback.
In a Modern Outback nature dominates, its residents are resilient and work cooperatively and live in challenging conditions. Indigenous cultures remain strong and at the heart of the Outback is the history, the stories, skills and knowledge.
A Modern Outback is good for people and nature. By protecting and managing our extraordinary landscape and supporting the people who want to live there, we can restore health and economic wellbeing to the WA Outback.
How to create a Modern Outback
Partnership for Outback supports changing laws to enable better land use. We support a range of programs that bring new opportunities that work for the environment and nature and get people back into the Outback. These include private land conservation funded by Government and philanthropic donors, carbon farming, enabling Native Title Rights, Aboriginal Land Management, NRM and land stewardship, tourism and science.
In November 2021, the WA Government announced proposed amendments to the Land Administration Act 1997, to allow for economic diversification of the WA Outback.
The announcement is a milestone step for many landholders in the WA Outback, who have been calling for land reform changes for several years. However, there is still much to be done.
These changes once passed in WA Parliament should create legal, policy and funding pathways to encourage diverse opportunities in the WA Outback, with a focus on activities that provide jobs, whilst protecting the environment, reducing carbon in the atmosphere, encourage responsible tourism, support co-management with Traditional owners and restoring landscape productivity for future generations.
It's up to all of us to create our Modern Outback.
Voices of the Outback
"I feel as though 2019 was a watershed year for the pastoral industry; that was when the state government signed off on Human Induced Regeneration (HIR) carbon projects in the Southern Rangelands. HIR projects have provided pastoralists with the capability, opportunity and motivation to fast-track regeneration plans, and new methods are building on old knowledge to restore the rangelands. Carbon projects have created a subtle change in the mindset of pastoral lease holders who have committed to long-term futures in this challenging landscape. Livestock have a critical role in the future of the outback, and Western Australia’s pastoral estate offers exciting opportunities for the carbon neutral, ethical production of red meat. By carefully managing our livestock in the rangelands we can strengthen the symbiotic relationship between a healthy landscape and healthy livestock." - Pastoralist Debbie Dowden from Challa Station.