Riverina LLS TSR Grazing Area Pilot
The Riverina Local Land Services’ new TSR grazing area pilot is an innovative approach and the first of its kind in NSW. It will be treated as a pilot to test the approach.
It requires a four year period to ensure the viability for permit holders. It only covers 10 of the 15 Local Government areas within Riverina.
The TSR grazing area pilot involves creating six defined grazing areas in the central/eastern Riverina made up of reserves, routes and council roads. These regions will be permitted out as individual packages to prospective entities for an initial four-year period.
Public consultation opened on Monday 7 June 2021 and closed midnight Sunday 30 July 2021 (please note this was extended from original closing date).
Please note: Due to the impact of COVID-19, previously scheduled information sessions have been cancelled. The information session were run as webinars on 26 and 28 July.
About the new TSR grazing area pilot
We expect that the pilot will result in the following benefits:
- provide strategic grazing through a rolling three month grazing plan through the life of the lease, submitted by the permit holder in advance to Local Land Services and the Council, showing proposed travel routes
- increased auditing of permit holders and use of GPS tracking collars on cattle to track their movement 24 hours per day
- minimise any biosecurity risks
- reduce our administrative costs
- increase our funding base for our TSR program to enable investment into pest and weed control, infrastructure replacement, fire hazard reduction and to maintain and improve the conservation values of our TSR network.
Permits will still be available for destination walking stock, roadside grazing, routine stock movement and apiarists
Stock movement around a grazing area will be based on the available feed reserves and the condition and quality of groundcover on the routes. Stock movement will be strictly in accordance with the three month grazing plan. The permit holder will be subject to regular audits by Local Land Services staff.
This contrasts with the current management strategy where individual TSRs are permitted out to individual landholders and multiple walking permits are issued to stock owners.
Permits will still be available for producers for destination walking stock, roadside grazing, routine stock movement and apiarists.
Drivers for change
The key drivers and benefits for this initiative are as follows:
1. Changing nature of the livestock industry
TSRs were traditionally used for destination travelling stock and grazing. In recent times this has changed.
The move from droving livestock to transport by truck to their destination has meant that there is less demand for walking stock permits.
TSRs are now recognised as important assets for biodiversity conservation, Indigenous culture and recreation, as well as for traditional travelling stock and grazing benefits.
2. Reduced grazing income to maintain TSR infrastructure
This reduced income from grazing permits has resulted in insufficient revenue to maintain TSR infrastructure, control priority weed incursion and enforce compliance (ie illegal dumping, firewood removal, unauthorised apiarists).
3. No Government funding for public asset
Local Land Services receives no government funding for the 500,000 hectares of TSRs in NSW despite the public good that they provide.
This significant shortfall is currently being covered by Riverina Local Land Services ratepayers each year. The new grazing area is a means to address this issue.
This limited funding also means we are often unable to meet stakeholder expectations on how TSRs should be managed for production, environmental, community and cultural outcomes. We implementing this pilot model to free up ratepayer funding for expenditure on other important biosecurity initiatives such as pest and weed control.
4. Move towards a user pays model
Rather than rural ratepayers paying for this shortfall in TSR management, Riverina Local Land Services is looking at a user-pays model. This user pays model was recommended by the Independent Pricing And Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in its report to Local Land Services in 2014.
This proposed model will see the larger grazing areas permitted out by tender, with the expected revenue generated to support TSR maintenance moving forward.
Key benefits of the Riverina Local Land Services grazing area pilot are:
- maintain the quality and condition of the TSR network
- user-pays model being more equitable use of ratepayer funds
- work more closely with local Councils in designing the available road networks
- rotational grazing operations better support groundcover and biodiversity outcomes in high conservation areas (which make up over 50 per cent of TSR areas)
- reduced fuel load means lower fire hazard on roadsides and in reserves
- improved weed management on routes and reserves – achieved through strategic grazing
- guaranteed annual income to better support long-term TSR planning and improvement programs.
- a rolling three month grazing plan through the life of the lease, will be submitted by the permit holder to Local Land Services and Local Government to allow for better management of travelling stock.