The news emerged today that the long-promised reforms to Outback laws have been delayed until next year.
However, the reform of outdated Outback laws is inevitable - the needs of both people and the environment in Outback WA have created unstoppable momentum for change.
The need for diversification in the Outback is urgent, so the momentum for change is not going to go away just because of a delay amending the laws.
Currently, the options for diversification into sustainable enterprises like carbon farming, conservation and tourism are limited – but people in the Outback need these opportunities and have been calling out for reform of these outdated laws for years.
While it is a shame that this key step towards opening up opportunity for people in the bush will now be pushed back to next year, the case for reform is strong and the reality is that big reforms do take time.
We’ll be calling on all parties in the next parliamentary session to be part of this historic opportunity to strengthen landscapes and livelihoods in WA’s Outback.
In 2009, a report led by MP Wendy Duncan identified a range of reforms needed to spark economic opportunity and keep people on the land. The recommended reforms included modernising the land use laws, enabling carbon farming and supporting the development of sustainable enterprises such as tourism. These conclusions were widely supported by Outback sectors including pastoralism, tourism, conservation and others.
Attempts to change the laws governing land use in the Outback have fallen over before, most recently in 2007, but this time the evidence for the need for change is powerful. There’s strong support for the reforms from mining, pastoral, carbon farming, conservation and tourism industries.
WA’s first Outback Carbon Farming Conference held in Perth two days ago was attended by over 100 industry representatives and drew attention to the huge opportunities that sustainable enterprises such as carbon farming represent for WA.
The Outback Carbon Farming Conference highlighted the new future that’s possible for land managers.
The drive towards a diversity of enterprises across nearly 90% of Western Australia – enterprises that will create new incomes and a modern Outback – is not going to go away.
The news of the delay emerged in today's The West Australian. Click here for more.