Public consultation is now open on Australia’s first national action plan on soil.
First Assistant Secretary of Portfolio Strategy and Climate Policy at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, Nick Blong, invited all stakeholders across the broad range of sectors supporting healthy soils to have their say and help shape the final action plan.
“As the first action plan under the 20-year National Soil Strategy, it is important that there is a focus on setting good foundations for future actions to halt and reverse soil degradation and improve soil health,” Mr Blong said.
“For example, the department is currently progressing important soil data work including working with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, to build an Australian National Soil Information System. This will allow soil data from different systems to be combined into a single system – underpinning future research and soil management.
“Soil provides essential ecosystem services that support and contribute to: Australia’s economic, environmental, and social wellbeing, including food and fibre production; water storage, filtration and nutrient cycling, and carbon storage.
“The draft action plan outlines six priority actions for improving Australia’s soil health and long-term soil security.
“It will guide national action to provide a solid foundation to restore and protect Australian soil over the long term.”
You can view the draft action plan and provide feedback at haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/soil-action.
For more information, read the National Soil Strategy. And get in before consultation closes on 7 November 2022.
Did you know this about our soil
- The draft action plan outlines six priority actions on improving Australia’s soil health and long-term soil security:
- Improve soil health across land uses, sectors and locations through practice change.
- Develop and make tools available to demonstrate the return on investment in improving soil health
- Review, extend and promote current and new structures for knowledge sharing, peer learning and collaboration that facilitate soil stewardship among land managers
- Apply a strategic and coordinated approach to research and innovation and encourage investment from relevant sectors to help achieve the Strategy Goals.
- Develop a harmonised national approach to the collection, aggregation and analysis of soil information.
- Identify and address shortfalls to ensure a future pipeline of soil scientific, technical and professional expertise and skills among all sectors engaged in soil health.
- It will be reviewed every five years to incorporate relevant soil-related priorities and to measure progress against the goals of the strategy. State and territory governments and other stakeholders will continue to be involved in implementing and reviewing the plan.
- Australia manages over 8 million km2 of soil. Soils contain more than 25% of our planet’s biodiversity, and more than and 95% of the world’s food comes from soil (FAO 2015).
Soil constraints such as sodicity, acidity, subsoil and salinity are estimated to costs Australia more than $4 billion per year in lost production, which is likely to increase due to climate change impacts (Rengasamy 2020 and Hajkowicz & Young, 2005)