The Prime Minister announces the establishment of the office of the National Advocate for Soil Health at the Daily Telegraph’s Bush Summit held in Dubbo on Thursday 18 July.
The Prime Minister announced plans to establish a permanent office to advise on our national soil strategies and initiatives across multiple portfolios including education , training, science and technology, agriculture, water policy and regional development. The Prime Minister has recalled the Honourable Major General Michael Jeffery AC AO (Mil) CVO MC (Retd) as the National Advocate for Soil Health.
The Prime Minister stated that Australia’s national drought strategy and long-term strategic plan will be based on the clear foundations and directions set out by the Government’s appointed Coordinator for Drought Major General Stephen Day, namely:
- Drought is an enduring, regular feature of the Australian landscape and is likely to become more regular.
- Drought preparations and planning must always continue, especially during times of no drought.
- Building drought resilience requires comprehensive understanding and integrated management of our soil, vegetation and water resources.
- Drought policies, programmes and preparation must be developed with industry and communities and informed by the best possible information.
The Prime Minister outlined a plan to ensure that information about our precious soil resource is collected, accurate, timely, collated, shared and widely understood through the auspices of the Office of the National Soils Advocate. The Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack endorsed the Prime Minister’s initiatives, commenting, “The overarching principle of the National Advocate’s appointment was that Australia’s soil, water and vegetation are key natural, national, strategic assets and must be managed in an integrated way across the continent.”
The Soil Advocate will also take on broader global advocacy on soils as part of Government’s global environmental agenda especially in Indo-Pacific and as part of the Pacific Step-up program working with Pacific Nations.