Media Release

National soils strategy to dig up the good stuff

25 March 2014

Australia has its first national, coordinated and forward thinking approach to managing soils with the Australian Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, releasing a soils strategy and also announcing the reappointment of Australia’s soil health advocate today.

Minister Joyce, launched the National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy - Securing Australia’s soil for profitable industries and healthy landscapes, saying the strategy shows commitment to ensuring healthy soils as an important precursor to healthy farm businesses.

“This strategy will ensure soils research will become more targeted and collaborative and that research will better meet the needs of farmers, contributing to the long term viability and productivity of their businesses.

“It’s all about providing better information and tools to our farmers, scientists and policymakers on soil use and management to assist them into the future.

“This strategy is a road map, and 150 different organisations from across Australia will be involved in rolling it out over the next five years.

“Today, I can also announce that former Governor–General, Major General the Hon. Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd), has been reappointed as the Advocate for Soil Health in 2014.

“In his role as Advocate for Soil Health, General Jeffery provides strong leadership and advocacy and promotes the benefits of looking after our soils to farmers and indeed all Australians.

“I’ve also asked General Jeffery to draw on his experience as Advocate for Soil Health to inform the Agriculture Competitiveness White Paper and the Northern Australia White Paper,” Minister Joyce said.

General Jeffery’s reappointment as Advocate for Soil Health coincides with the release of his second report. The report identifies a number of soil research and development priorities that has informed the National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy.

The National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy is available at: daff.gov.au/soilstrategy.