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Soil Conservation still going strong after 80 years

The NSW Soil Conservation Service will mark its 80th anniversary next week with a cocktail party at Wagga Wagga and field trip to see projects in the local area.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said no matter where you go in regional NSW, Soil Conservation are very highly regarded and deservedly so.

“Their brand and service is second to none – they are one of the most trusted services in regional NSW,” Mr Blair said.

“Soil Conservation’s practical approach has increased productivity and helped land managers right across the state to better manage the environment.

“Soil Conservation is always there to offer reliable and practical solutions to a myriad of natural resource management issues.

“They’ve been part of our regional communities for decades and no doubt will continue to be for the decades to come.”

Current employees will be joined by staff from across the years at the celebrations at Wagga. Guest will include 94-year-old Wagga Wagga man, Jack Logan who started his career in 1946 at Wellington, in central west NSW, and Bob Junor, who was Commissioner from 1988 to 1992.

Next week’s celebrations will include a cocktail party at Charles Sturt University and a field visit to the Mates Gully area, where staff have worked in partnership with Local Land Services and local landholders to address significant gully erosion.

Chair of Local Land Services, Richard Bull said the Soil Conservation Service has played a key role over the past 80 years in improved land management, particularly the prevention of erosion and improvement in soil health.

“The Soil Conservation Service became part of Local Land Services last year and we are constantly impressed by the long-term dedication, passion and commitment of the staff,” Mr Bull said.

“Staff are still involved in a project that started at the Kurnell Peninsula in 1974 and is Sydney’s largest sand dune stabilisation project.

“They work up and down the country and have made a significant impact in rural and coastal areas and will even be delivering a project to help determine the feasibility of extending the dog fence that runs along the NSW and Queensland borders.”

Soil Conservation Service General Manager, Tim Ferraro said a passionate soil conservationist called Sam Clayton helped generate recognition in the early 1930s that the state’s agricultural survival was on the line.

“Sam became the first Commissioner after the Soil Conservation Act came into force on

28 October 1938 and was recognised as one of the earliest pieces of environmental legislation in NSW,” Mr Ferraro said.

“Before long, it was recognised that we needed to work towards a more integrated way to address soil, water and vegetation management and the total catchment management approach was adopted.

“Over the years, we have continued to promote the principles of sound land management and to address issues such as rising groundwater, soil acidification and salinity that reduce productivity.”

“Our business is now fully commercial and works on a very diverse range of issues, but our far-reaching social and economic impacts continue.”

Media contact: Donna Ambler, 0400 258 690

Historic photos available on request