A Soil Policy for the Management of Soils in New South Wales?

“Soil is the mainstay of healthy people and environments and provides the essential foundation for all terrestrial ecosystems as well as the production of food.”

Words like those above are often used to promote the vital role performed by soils, and recognise the importance of appropriate soil management within a wider natural resource management agenda.  In fact, it is often proposed that soil is the “glue”, or the common link to all those other aspects of our multifaceted physical, social and economic environment.

In New South Wales, many aspects of the natural resources mix, such as water, air, native vegetation and biodiversity have received significant political attention through the introduction of legislation and policy that galvanizes strategic intent for those components of the natural resource agenda.

Yet, soil has received at best “slumber land” consideration from our governments in recent decades. Governments have sequentially failed to recognise the good news and popular responses, particularly from rural communities, and the beneficial aspects to the state’s economy, which can be generated from a strategic focus on the management of our soils.

Significant work to develop a soils policy for NSW was conducted across state agencies some years ago, and some readers of this site may remember being involved in consultations during that period. Unfortunately, the product was dumped, following a change of Government.  Also, The Soil Conservation Act 1938, remains as existing legislation, yet there appears negligible influence of this legislation on the way our state agencies respond in their current program mixes and priorities.

So, what about it for soils?

Permanent beds

A soil policy for all users is essential

Imagine what a soils policy for NSW might look like.

To start the discussion, SKN attaches what a draft soils policy may look like.   It was compiled a while ago, so some of the agency names have changed.  However, SKN promotes the strategic intent in this draft as relevant and credible.

draft_-soil_policy-december-2011-v2_compressed

Draft NSW Soil Policy Action Plan_Oct2011

Let us know what you think.  Send an email to NSW SKN President daryl.green@bigpond.com