On 17 January 1997 the Government referred ecologically sustainable land management in Australia for inquiry and report within 12 months. For the purposes of this inquiry, land used for agricultural or pastoral purposes includes both the land and associated vegetation, and ground and surface water including rivers, riversides and wetlands, whether publicly or privately owned and whether currently or potentially available for economic use. In making its recommendations, the Commission is to improve the overall performance of the Australian economy while meeting the core objectives of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development. The Industry Commission's package of recommendations was built around three major components. In brief, these were to: recast the regulatory regime to ensure resource owners and managers take into account the environmental impacts of their decisions.; create or improve the markets for key natural resources; and encourage nature conservation on private land. The focus of the report was on ensuring future decisions more completely reflect the impact of those decisions on ecologically sustainable land management, rather than the issue of repairing the effects of past decisions. For remediation, where worthwhile, it was considered reasonable for beneficiaries to contribute to the costs in proportion to the benefits they derive, as far as is practical.


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