The Opposition is calling for a guarantee to be written into the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989 that at least half of the Pastoral Board's members and deputy members have practical experience managing a pastoral lease. It comes as the state government seeks to have its own amendment to the Act debated in the House of Assembly this week. If passed it would allow more diverse land use on pastoral leases including carbon farming and conservation. Some pastoralists have expressed concerns about the government moving oversight of the Pastoral Board from PIRSA to the Department of Environment and Water and that Environment Minister Susan Close is now the one responsible for board appointments. Opposition agriculture spokesperson Nicola Centofanti says she will table her amendment in the Legislative Council as a safeguard to ensure the six member pastoral board, who will assess any land use changes, remain focused on pastoral activities. Currently in SA of the 323 leases, 302 are used for pastoral purposes and 21 are used for conservation purposes. "We know that farming isn't good every year so we support giving pastoralists more options on their leases but we also don't want conservationists overriding pastoralists and the board approving the locking up of large numbers of leases for conservation," she said. "This can create issues for neighbours with fences and also controlling feral animals." Livestock SA's northern region chairman David Bell says he can see merit in Dr Centofanti's proposal and agrees that those serving on the board should have practical experience managing pastoral lands, not just working in the pastoral area. "No one in the pastoral industry is against conservation and pastoralists are some of the best conservationists in the world, especially the older generation's knowledge of plants and animals," he said. But Mr Bell says even more critical than the board make up is ensuring the board's presiding member has a strong pastoral background and the skills to manage a board well. Mr Bell says the state government has "overlooked" an opportunity to bring the Pastoral Act into the 21st century. "The trouble with the Act is that there are things we are dealing with now that had not even been thought of when the Act first came in," he said. "It would not change the process at all to give pastoralists 60 year or 70 year leases rather than the current 42 years but it would make a big difference for those negotiating carbon farming." Ms Close says prior to the last state election the government committed to a number of initiatives to support landholders across SA to care for land sustainably including providing $1m over four years for the Pastoral Unit to accelerate lease extensions. She says the minor amendments being sought will resolve an inconsistency between two sections of the Act that caused legal uncertainty over the Pastoral Board's ability to approve non-pastoral uses such as carbon farming. She has dismissed the need for a guaranteed quota of pastoralists on the board. "There is already provision in Part 3 of the Act for five of the six positions on the Board to be for people with experience in pastoral leases, including three of the members being nominated by the Minister for Primary Industries, Livestock SA and Primary Producers SA," she said.