Parliamentary Friends of Soil- World Soils Day

Politicians, farmers, scientists, and industry celebrate World Soil Day

People with a passion for soil health converged in Canberra this week for the first meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil.

The Parliamentary Friends Group, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Michael McCormack MP and the Hon Linda Burney MP, met just days ahead of World Soil Day (5 December) to acknowledge the importance of healthy soil as a natural resource, and its contribution to Australia’s long-term economic, environmental and social wellbeing.

The Hon Linda Burney MP, co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil group speaking to the first meeting ahead of World Soil Day.

“The Soil CRC is thrilled to be supporting the establishment of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil,” said Dr Michael Crawford, CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils.

“It’s vital we have non-partisan support for the three peak bodies for soil – the Soil CRC, Soil Science Australia and Soils For Life – to bring issues associated with soil health to the attention of politicians and policy makers.

“This is a great opportunity for the Australian soil community to come together, and highlight that it all starts with the soil” he said.

At the breakfast, parliamentarians got the chance to engage with farmers, scientists, industry groups and policy makers on issues relating to health and maintenance of Australia’s soils.

“The support we get from groups like this, and individuals such as the National Soils Advocate, the Hon Penelope Wensley AC, leads to greater collaboration between industry and science,” said Professor Luke Mosley, President of Soil Science Australia.

“These types of relationships clear the pathway to adoption of new soil management technologies which will help us address challenges such as a hotter drier climate,” he said.

National Soil Advocate the Hon Penelope Wensley addressed the group, speaking with optimism about the common commitment in the room.

“Having this friendship group is certainly something to celebrate this World Soils Day,” said Dr Liz Clarke, CEO of the farmer organisation Soils For Life.

“This thin, living layer around our planet supports all life on land and stores carbon and water. This is an important opportunity to work together as a soil health community to address the critical status of soils.

“It’s vital we are all protecting and regenerating soils. After all, the earth’s soil is a fundamental life-support system,” she said.

The Parliamentary Friends of Soil is made up of ten MPs

  • Michael McCormack (co-Chair) – Riverina NSW
  • Linda Burney (co-Chair) – Barton NSW
  • Meryl Swanson MP – Paterson NSW
  • James McGrath – Senate Qld
  • Hollie Hughes – Senate NSW
  • Ken O’Dowd – Flynn Qld
  • Susan McDonald – Senate Qld
  • Tony Pasin – Barker SA
  • Kevin Hogan – Page NSW
  • Rick Wilson – O’Connor WA.

The group was formed as a result of collaborations between the Soil CRC, Soil Science Australia and Soils for Life with support from the National Soils Advocate.

For more information about the Parliamentary Friends of Soil group contact Soils For Life.