Strategic approaches to soils research, development and extension

The Australian and state and territory governments are working together to improve investment in soils in Australia. The preparation of the Stocktake of Australia’s Investment in soils research, development and extension and the business case for a cross–sectoral soils RD&E strategy have been undertaken in part as a response to the 2008 policy discussion paper, Managing Australia’s Soils, which investigated soil management issues and opportunities in Australia. Following release of the policy paper, 101 submissions were received from a range of organisations including Landcare and farmer groups, research and development organisations, government agencies and natural resource management organisations. The submissions identified opportunities to improve the coordination of soil management and sharing of information in Australia.

Cover of Managing Australia's Soils: a policy discussion paper Managing Australia’s Soils: a policy discussion paper



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Managing Australia’s Soils: summary of submissions from public consultation



Australian, state and territory governments, through the Natural Resource Management Standing Committee, agreed to respond to the issues by adopting a strategic approach to soil management by exploring opportunities for national action in three priority areas:

Soil Task Group

The Soil Task Group was established in 2009 to progress this work. The department chairs and provides secretariat support to the Soil Task Group which includes representatives from Australian, state and territory government agencies and the CSIRO. The Soil Task Group’s terms of reference are:

To develop and implement an agreed work plan with a focus on priority soil management issues where multi–jurisdiction action is likely to deliver major returns, these being:

  • research and development collaboration, consistent with the National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension Framework;
  • coordination of soils assessment and monitoring information and data; and,
  • improved linkages of extension programs including to the National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension Framework.

To undertake activities identified in the work plan with a view to achieving:

  • Better coordination of the respective roles, policies and actions of government, industry, the research community and other stakeholders; and,
  • integration of soil management activities into relevant policies and programs such as the National Biodiversity Strategy and developing Sustainable Agriculture Framework.