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Policy brief: Outback Livelihoods and Landscapes – Rangelands and RLP

The Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnerships program supports 225 projects that contribute to six outcomes. Four of those outcomes are related to the environment and two are related to sustainable agriculture. 

The program invests $450 million across the whole of Australia. Yet an analysis conducted by the Centre for Conservation Geography shows that the average spend inside the rangelands is just 17 cents per hectare, compared with $1.27 per hectare outside. In the Northern Territory the spend is just 10 cents per hectare and in Queensland’s Channel Country. In the Western Australian Rangelands Region the spend is 5 cents per hectare. 

The Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator program, which is worth $33 million nationally over five years sees less than $9.5 million invested in regions that include rangelands as well as other land types. The fact that RALFs cover large areas, some of which includes semi-urban and large regional centres, means that just 66% of that $9.5 million ($6.3 million) supports facilitation work in the actual rangelands. 

Despite managing more than 80% of the country’s land mass, these Outback communities receive less than 20% of funding delivered through the Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator (RALF) program. 

Across the rangelands, there are less than 10 FTEs delivering the RALF program – an essential element of the Regional Land Partnerships program and a model that has delivered significant outcomes for sustainable agriculture and regional communities across many iterations of federal funding.

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