Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

‘People’ focus of rangelands conference

‘Transition to transformation’ was the theme of the 19th Biennial Australian Rangeland Society conference held in Port Augusta, South Australia last month.

The program was action-packed, commencing with field trips on the first day, followed by two days of keynote presentations and plenary sessions from 26-28 September 2017. Over 200 delegates attended from all corners of the Australia rangelands.

Themes over the days were:

  • Pastoral industry trends in the Southern Rangelands
  • Changing face of indigenous managed lands
  • Coping with drought
  • Transitioning to new industries
  • Living with climate change
  • Northern Australia—the new frontier
  • Regional & community development
  • Monitoring after ACRIS

There were also the ‘new’ three-minute lightning presentations plus a skype hook-up with the outgoing Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews.

A number of Rangelands NRM staff and WA rangelands locals made the trip over to the South Australian rangelands.

The Rangelands NRM crew at the conference

CEO Dr Gaye Mackenzie presented the journey Rangelands NRM has been on over the last few years. [LINK] She spoke of how the organisation has transformed the way it sees itself, how others see it and how we do things.

“To make any kind of difference working in the expansive WA rangelands, we need to think landscape,” Gaye said.

“And, as soon as we do that we need to think across tenure. People need to be empowered to look after their own patch and they also need to work together in a strategic way to ensure efforts are sustainable.”

Gaye’s presentation was supplemented by a poster [LINK] showing our Connect, Coordinate, Delivery philosophy and the processes by which we work.

Southern Rangelands Program Manager Kieran Massie spoke of the changing grazing industries in the southern rangelands. [LINK]

He said by adopting a systems-based approach driven by the pastoral industry, with aligned support from government agencies, financial institutions and NGOs, Rangelands NRM is supporting targeted landscape interventions to increase confidence in the regenerative capacity of the landscape.

“We believe a region’s greatest asset is its people,” Kieran said.

“By recognising and promoting the local knowledge of land managers and complementing this knowledge with technical expertise and support at appropriate junctures, barriers to the development of sustainable pastoral production can be identified for further enquiry through shared learnings.”

Northern Australia Program Manager Grey Mackay took the audience on Rangelands NRM’s journey of working in the Fitzroy Catchment in the Kimberley. [LINK]

“Our approach is to use a networking > problem solving > coordinated program to assist stakeholders along a journey,” Grey said.

He said Rangelands NRM brings an openness to discuss the issues, without having the answers or driving the direction of discussions.

“Together, the group is developing a framework and facilitating the creation of a body who can navigate environment, social and economic needs.”

“We are using a ‘collective impact’ strategy to seek shared commitment through understanding of a collective goal between participating stakeholders,” Grey said.

Rangelands NRM sponsored pastoralist Ben Forsyth from Three Rivers station in the East Gascoyne.

“A good emphasis on the human element in the rangelands at the moment.”

“It is encouraging to see that human element is being looked in the rangelands at the moment,” Ben said.