David Phelps, ARS President and Director, DAF Office,  Landsborough Hwy, Longreach  Qld  4730.  Email: president@austrangesoc.com.au


Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all members of the Australian Rangeland Society a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope that you are all able to share the holiday season with those closest to you, are able to share experiences that you enjoy and—most importantly—travel safely.

Australian delegates at the 2016 International Rangelands Congress in Canada left enthused to consider a bid to host the 2024 congress down under—with Ayers Rock resort as one suggestion as a venue. It would be a magnificent location, with the potential to book the entire resort for accommodation with specialist tours and events on-site—as well as touring Uluru and other equally special locations.

The catch, however, is that we still need enough expressions of interest to form a committee to lodge a bid by mid-2018. If you are interested in helping showcase Australia’s rangelands to the world, create something quite special for the global rangelands community, and provide our rangeland community with a unique learning opportunity. Please contact me if you are interested, or post on our social media to inspire your colleagues!

With 2017 wrapping up, I would like to provide some of the highlights from the year:

  • A highly successful conference at Port Augusta. I would like to congratulate John Gavin and his team for an excellent conference, with special mention to Natural Resources South Australian Arid Lands and their board for their strong support and to Kate Forrest for the huge effort in leading a very successful sponsorship push. The conference was stimulating, enjoyable, raised some new themes and contributed positively to the financial sustainability of the ARS.
  • A new publishing contract with CSIRO Publishing for The Rangeland Journal, which will continue to grow the impact factor and report rangelands research from around the world.
  • Strengthening the ARS finances, helping to build a sustainable future for our society.
  • Congratulations to Ron Hacker on being awarded an Australian Rangeland Society Fellowship, which recognises his long and on-going contribution to Australian and International rangeland science and practice. Ron has strongly contributed to the life of the Australian Rangeland Society, holding many Council positions (including President), is the current Chari of the Publications Committee and helped organise the 1999 International Rangelands Congress in Townsville. Of all of Ron’s contributions, his greatest is the support he has given to the career development of many young scientists.


Entering into 2018, the ARS Council plans to:

  • Continue to contribute to the call for an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP), with the potential for linkages with a well advanced bid for an International Decade of Family Farming (IDFF).
  • Seek contributions from journal authors for social media, encouraging practical, interesting and snappy summaries for a wider audience.
  • Discuss possible changes to the Range Management Newsletter, based on changing trends in ARS membership and rangeland stakeholders. We welcome your ideas, thoughts and comments on making the newsletter as relevant as possible.
  • Continue to work towards ensuring the ARS is relevant into the future, providing services that are highly regarded by the Australian and international rangeland community and increase membership e.g. by keeping membership fees the same as 2017 and encouraging student membership through conference awards.
  • Establishing formal linkages with the NRM Rangeland Alliance and the Outback Alliance, with both groups seeking to further the sustainability of the rangelands it is logical for the ARS to be involved in the discussion.
  • Support the 2019 Canberra conference organising committee to develop a program which will raise the profile of rangelands with our national policy makers, be relevant and practical for our members, and appeal to wide range of stakeholders.


Once again, on behalf of Council I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and safe travels for those touring our wonderful rangelands (and the other bits) of Australia.