Dana Kelly, National IYRP Chair.  Email: dana@danamkelly.com


The International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists now has 3 state-based IYRP groups, Western Australia (Chair: Debbie Dowden from Challa Station), Queensland (Chair: Bridig Price, Hillyvale Station) and New South Wales (Chair: Gus Whyte, Wyndham Station). This is a grassroots movement with all Chairs as pastoralists so far; and is in keeping with the desire of one of the IYRP founder’s, Jim O’Rourke, who sadly passed away a few weeks ago.

Three members of the WA-IYRP group and Dana Kelly (National IYRP Chair) went to Canberra just before Easter. SEGRA had invited the Southern Rangelands Pastoral Alliance (SRPA), a key collaborator with IYRP, to present at Parliament House for their inaugural workshop. SRPA was the only rangeland management group present, and they highlighted their links with IYRP. SEGRA achieved its aim to provide an opportunity for people in rural and regional areas to showcase innovative projects to policy makers and politicians.

Dana and various WA-IYRP members had meetings with officials in Canberra over the 2 days after this workshop.

  • The first was with the Second Secretary of the Kenyan High Commission based in Canberra. We discussed IYRP and specifically the Kenyan Friendship Group. Irene Muthui, a Kenyan who now calls Geraldton home, has been instrumental in developing this relationship. Among other things, the Second Secretary offered to write to the Council of Governors in Kenya, a great way to connect with local pastoralists in the 47 Kenyan Counties.
  • The second meeting was with DFAT, who were pleased to be briefed about the IYRP. They made some positive suggestions about future actions. They were delighted to hear about the progress in forming a Kenyan Friendship Group between Kenyan pastoralists and Western Australia pastoralists.
  • The third meeting was with the member for Durack in Western Australia, Melissa Price. She was very supportive of both SRPA and IYRP, and will be a positive ambassador for IYRP in the future.
  • Our fourth meeting was with a Senior Policy Advisor with the Department of Climate and Energy. The Department’s main interest to date has been about obtaining social licence for green energy projects in rangelands, as they seemed unaware of any other contributions to be made by rangelands. We were invited to further meetings to explain the potential of rangeland pastoralists to contribute to mitigating carbon emissions for Australia.


Meeting in Canberra between Dana Kelly (National IYRP Chair),  Melissa Price (MP for Durack) and Debbie Dowden (Chair, WA-IYRP Group)


Fiachra Kearney (Board Member, Southern Rangelands Pastoral Alliance) and Debbie Dowden (Chair, WA-IYRP Group) horsing around after a hard day in Parliament


Since Christmas, various other activities have been completed. A brochure about IYRP was produced, and will be available for wide distribution soon. Regenerative Agricultural pastoralists visiting Africa were introduced to a Regenerative Agriculture group in Kenya, and we look forward to their report.

A video was produced for IYRP by the Southern Rangelands Pastoral Alliance, and the draft can be found here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/P9OZYGlRLm

Other videos are requested from all states and regions of Australia, please get in touch if you have any ideas.

IYRP groups in Australia will continue to:

  1. find case studies to highlight in the media
  2. seek support from other organisations/agencies who run activities across the rangelands
  3. develop collaborations to run activities around the monthly IYRP themes for 2026.


Future actions will include:

[1] Development of messages for each monthly theme: Current IYRP members will meet to clarify our messaging, building on the previous survey about Australia wide themes. One international theme relevant to Australia, is how rangelands and the people who live there are often forgotten in the policy and political spheres.

Australia wide themes and more specific regional themes now need to be developed.

[2] Awareness raising at Beefweek in Rockhampton: IYRP will be represented at Beef Week in May 2024 by Dana Kelly (National Chair IYRP), Alys McKeogh (WA-IYRP) and Bridig Price (QLD-IYRP).

If anyone can help find us a (free) space in someone’s else’ exhibition stall at Beefweek, that would be appreciated. We have a couple of posters and brochures – please contact Dana Kelly: dana@danamkelly.com.