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Land use in the Western Division

Semi arid landscapeMost of the Western Division is classified as a semi-arid rangeland and is only suitable for livestock grazing in a sustainable manner. The land is considered to be fragile and susceptible to land degradation if not managed appropriately.

A pastoral or agricultural property in the Western Division can comprise one or several Western Lands Leases. Properties vary in size significantly but generally the further west you go the larger the property size, because this is linked to the productive capacity of the land. Some properties in the far west can be up to 200,000 hectares (2,000 square kilometres) in size. Properties around Walgett, Wentworth and Balranald are usually smaller, covering around 5,000 to 6,000 hectares, and are more intensively developed, with dryland cropping their main enterprise.

In recent decades, the area has seen an increase in dry land and irrigated agriculture, particularly along the rivers in the north–east and along the eastern and southern margins. There are important irrigation centres along the Barwon–Darling, Murray, Murrumbidgee, and Lachlan Rivers, with the local economies in these regions relying heavily on the availability of water for agriculture.

Mining is also an essential component of the regional economy, and tourism is a large and growing industry. All of these industries rely on the equitable, sustainable use of land and water resources.