Soil CRC Hosts Inaugural Meeting of Parliamentary Friends of Soil

Linda Burney MP, Michael McCormack MP and Michael Crawford

The Parliamentary Friends of Soil breakfast, held in Canberra on 3 December, brought together farmers, scientists, industry representatives, policy makers and politicians to celebrate World Soil Day and put a spotlight on the health and maintenance of Australia’s soils. CWFS CEO Diana Fear attended the breakfast and met up with many key industry figures.

The event to launch the Parliamentary Friends of Soil group was hosted and organised by the Soil CRC with the support of Soil Science Australia, Soils For Life and the Office of the National Soils Advocate. It provided a unique opportunity for the broad soil community and politicians to acknowledge the importance of healthy soil as a natural resource, and its contribution to Australia’s long-term economic, environmental and social wellbeing.

“This is a great opportunity for the Australian soil community to come together and highlight that it all starts with the soil,” CEO of the Soil CRC, Dr Michael Crawford said.

“The Soil CRC is thrilled to be supporting the establishment of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil.

“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,” he said.

Featuring an address from the newly appointed National Soils Advocate, the Honourable Penelope Wensley, guests also heard from the co-chairs of the group and the Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud MP. The Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley MP and the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor MP, were also in attendance.

“The support we get from groups like this and individuals such as the National Soils Advocate, Penelope Wensley, 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.

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

 “It’s vital we are all protecting and regenerating soils. After all, 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.

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