Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Northern Australia & Land Care

Northern Australia, that region of Australia north of the Tropic of Capricorn, provides a wealth of economic opportunities for our nation. This region is also strategically important for the vital role it plays in border protection and as an interface for broader engagement with neighbouring states.

Remediating China’s Polluted Soils: An Ambitious Endeavour

The Chinese Government plans to remediate immense areas of heavily polluted farmland over the next three years. Soil restoration is a natural process and directing a significant proportion of the national budget towards remediation may not buy the time needed to restore arable soil.

The Australian National Landcare Programme

The National Landcare Programme is the latest iteration of a series of organisations focused on landcare and sustainable agriculture issues. The Programme coordinates several sub-programmes and funding stream components. These components include a National Stream of funding, a Regional Stream of funding, an Indigenous component and a Marine component. In this paper, FDI will describe and discuss the history, structure, objectives and achievements of the National Landcare Programme in preparation for a more detailed analysis of the various components of the programme in the future.

HOT NORTH: Funding for Health Research in Northern Australia

Medical researchers and health carers are to benefit from increased funding to target disease and biosecurity in Australia’s north.

The Role of the Australian National Advocate for Soil Health, Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd)

In this Feature Interview, FDI takes the opportunity to speak with Major General the Hon. Michael Jeffery, the National Advocate for Soil Health. Since 2012, General Jeffery has striven to provided leadership and national strategic direction to the good work being done by soil scientists and landscape managers across Australia. He has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity and helping to meet global challenges including food security and climate change.

Australia Draws Attention of United Nations to Marine Litter and Micro-Plastics

Urgent action is required to reduce marine litter and micro-plastics. Australia is leading the efforts to gain United Nations support for a global commitment to clean up the world’s oceans.

World Soil Day: Caring for the Planet Starts from the Ground

Despite the essential role soil plays, there is a worldwide increase in soil degradation due to inappropriate management practices, population pressure, unsustainable agriculture, climate change and inadequate governance. Since 2012, World Soil Day has been held annually on 5 December to raise awareness and focus attention on the importance of the sustainable management of healthy soil resources. The theme for World Soil Day 2017 is “Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground” to bring attention to the importance of soil and the problem of soil degradation.

Water Resource Development in Northern Australia

The development of northern Australia, as outlined in the Federal Government White Paper, Our North Our Future: Developing Northern Australia of 2015, will be heavily dependent on the delivery of an adequate water supply to food and agribusiness and other industries if goals are to be achieved. While physical challenges can be overcome with detailed water resource assessments economic, environmental and governance issues may delay and limit development objectives.

Can the NBN Bridge the Communication Divide between Regional and Metropolitan Australia?

With a third of the population living in regional Australia, a strong internet is required now more than ever to provide regional Australians with the same opportunities their metropolitan counterparts enjoy.

Technological Data Advancements for Precision Agricultural Sensor Monitoring: Mr Kieran Coupe

In this FDI Feature Interview, Mister Kieran Coupe of the award-winning technology company Outpost Central discusses technologically advanced, computer-based monitoring systems to broad-acre irrigation and dryland farming.
As climate and weather patterns change, intermittent rainfall and warmer temperatures highlight the need for increasingly sophisticated water management. The use of web-enabled, digital technology to measure soil moisture is helping famers, across a wide range of agricultural pursuits, to determine the best ways to deliver irrigated water to crops and pasture. In addition to determining optimum watering delivery, farmers are making savings in power and water costs.

Regulatory Regimes for Water Resource Management

The National Water Initiative (NWI) is a market-based framework for the regulation of water resources by Australian states and territories. A basis for its principles are the lessons learnt from the challenges of cross-jurisdictional management in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB). Water resource development in northern Australia can benefit from the experience provided by the NWI and the NWI can be made a more rigorous framework if it incorporates some of the unique economic, social and environmental contexts of the north.

Publication Guide

  • Associate papers are primary source assessments written by FDI associates. The assessment topics range from regional bilateral relationships and opportunities and challenges in our neighbouring countries.

  • Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

  • Normally issued in hardcopy, these represent a comprehensive study of one of FDI’s four research areas.

  • Strategic alerts are priority current intelligence items. We provide these alerts when events such as military deployments or foreign election results occur.

  • A 1500 to 3000 word, single topic assessment.

  • A number of short articles addressing current intelligence topics, issued each week.

  • A record of discussions resulting from a single, or series of, roundtable conferences.

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