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Pastoral leases and non-pastoral land use

Commission research paper

This paper was released on 5 July 2002. The paper reviews pastoral lease arrangements across jurisdictions in Australia and the extent to which these affect the emergence of non-pastoral land uses.

Some comparisons are also made with pastoral lease arrangements in New Zealand, which has a history and pattern of pastoral lease administration and land development similar to Australia. The paper consolidates and extends previous Commission research on pastoral lease administration and management, and conservation of biodiversity on private land.

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  • Media release
  • Contents

Emerging environmentally-friendly businesses in Australia's rangelands are being constrained by pastoral lease arrangements according to a Productivity Commission report.

Pastoral leases exist on around 44 per cent of Australia's land area in the arid and semi-arid areas and the tropical savannas. Pastoral leases administered by State and Territory Governments are designed primarily to facilitate and support pastoralism.

The Commission Research Paper — Pastoral leases and non-pastoral land use — reviewed pastoral lease arrangements and constraints on non-pastoral land uses such as tourism, farming of livestock other than cattle or sheep, and conservation of native wildlife.

The report found that pastoral lease arrangements are characterised by extensive and prescriptive legislation and regulation. The lease arrangements control the use of land for pastoralism. For example, lease conditions typically specify the type and the maximum and minimum number of stock that can be grazed.

Commissioner Neil Byron said, 'Less prescriptive and more 'neutral' leasing arrangements would be likely to lead to better long term management of Australia's rangelands — economically, ecologically and socially.'

Native title is a key element of the broader institutional framework. Where applicable, any changes to land use would need to be consistent with native title.

Cover, Copyright, Foreword, Contents, Acknowledgments, Abbreviations, Overview, Key Messages

1 The evolution of pastoral leases
1.1 The pastoral lease system
1.2 Brief history and objectives

2 Land use on pastoral leases
2.1 Operating characteristics of farm businesses with pastoral leases
2.2 Non-pastoral land uses
2.3 Summary

3 Pastoral lease arrangements and non-pastoral land use
3.1 The objectives of land management legislation
3.2 Pastoral lease purpose
3.3 Pastoral lease conditions
3.4 Current approaches to non-pastoral land use
3.5 Native title
3.6 The pastoral lease rental system
3.7 Summary

4 Concluding comments

A Summary of pastoral lease arrangements

B Differences between leasehold and freehold tenure


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