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Industry Commission reference: ecologically sustainable land management

As Acting Treasurer, I have asked the Industry Commission, pending the establishment of the Productivity Commission, to report within twelve months on ecologically sustainable land management. The inquiry would cover land used for agricultural or pastoral purposes while meeting the core objectives of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development.

Land use, for the purpose of this inquiry, includes both land and associated vegetation and ground and surface water (rivers, riversides and wetlands etc), whether publicly or privately owned and whether currently or potentially available for economic use.

In undertaking the inquiry, the Commission has been requested to report on: the nature and appropriateness of the roles of governments, their agencies, land owners and managers and community groups to ecologically sustainable land management; the impact of regulatory, taxation and institutional arrangements on land management practices; and the impact on rural lands of urban encroachment.

The Commission will also report on the effectiveness of existing programs, impediments and any adjustment issues related to sustainable land management, the development of guidelines and, where appropriate, implementation strategies and evaluation and monitoring criteria. The Commission will take account of, and draw on, recent relevant studies undertaken elsewhere.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are attached and the Industry Commission will be calling for submissions in the near future.

For further information:

Mr Ross Wilson, Industry Commission, 06 240 3219

ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT

INDUSTRY COMMISSION ACT 1989

I, JOHN FAHEY, Acting Treasurer, under Part 2 of the Industry Commission Act 1989:

1. refer ecologically sustainable land management in Australia to the Industry Commission for inquiry and report within twelve months of receipt of this reference;

2. specify that the Commission report on the ecologically sustainable management of land used for agricultural or pastoral purposes. Land, for the purposes of this inquiry, includes both land and associated vegetation and ground and surface water including rivers, riversides and wetlands, etc, whether publicly or privately owned and whether currently or potentially available for economic use;

3. specify that in making its recommendations the Commission aim to improve the overall performance of the Australian economy, while meeting the core objectives of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development;

4. without limiting the scope of this reference request that the Commission report on:

(a) the nature and appropriateness of the roles and contributions of Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments and their agencies, and landowners, land managers and community groups to ecologically sustainable land management;

(b) the impact of regulatory, taxation and institutional arrangements on ecologically sustainable land management practices;

(c) the impact upon rural lands of urban encroachment, including the subdivision of land for hobby farms;

(d) the effectiveness of existing mechanisms, policies and programs relating to ecologically sustainable land management, including land and water resource policies;

(e) measures, including economic instruments, which could be taken to remove impediments to or otherwise promote the adoption of ecologically sustainable land management practices;

(f) the identification of adjustment issues, including groups benefiting from or disadvantaged by any measures flowing from 4(e) above;

(g) the development of a set of guidelines that public sector managers, landowners, land managers and community groups can use to promote ecologically sustainable land management; and

(h) the regional impacts of its recommendations;

5. specify that the Commission report, where appropriate, on implementation strategies and evaluation and monitoring criteria for its recommendations;

6. specify that the Commission take account of, and draw together, the work of recent relevant studies undertaken elsewhere; and

7. specify that the Commission have regard to the established economic, social and environmental objectives of governments.