National Dryland Salinity Program

Australia’s National Dryland Salinity Program (NDSP) was a decade-long program run over 2 phases by Land & Water Australia and comprised 12 investment partners. A major knowledge and adoption legacy activity for the NDSP was to initiate an enhanced communication year between 2004-05 to help distill the key findings from the program and develop resources to help put the research outcomes directly into the hands of land and water resource managers facing a salinity issue.

The NDSP Enhanced Communication Year involved the establishment of a writing team (one for each key audience) and a networks team (which was responsible for delivery and marketing activities).

Supporting this approach was a Monitoring and Evaluation team, which worked with a number of consultancies to finalise a final review of all program activities, as well as the Land & Water Australia communication team. This provided significant support for on-line resources and stakeholder liaison. The NDSP Program Manager and the National Communication Coordinator (Currie Communications) facilitated the interaction and integration between all of these people and external suppliers (designers, etc).

Crucial to the success of such an ambitious undertaking was securing the support (financial and in-kind) of existing investment partners as well as attracting the attention of new partners.

Legacy outcomes

The resulting legacy outcomes included:

  • a series of nationally-focused management resources (Managing Dryland Salinity in Australia) designed for policy, catchment management and farming audiences (marketed as the ‘salinity survival kit’)
  • a comprehensive on-line resource (www.ndsp.gov.au) and other electronic materials
  • continuation of most NDSP knowledge and adoption activities by the CRC for Plant-based Management of Dryland Salinity beyond the NDSP Enhanced Communication Year

The relationship formed with the Cooperative Research Centre for Salinity was particularly important from a long-term communication perspective, with the CRC Salinity employing 4 of the 5 former State-based NDSP Communication Coordinators post NDSP and assuming ownership of the NDSP’s flagship publications ‘SALT Magazine’, ‘Focus on Salt’ newsletter, the email-based discussion forum SALTLIST, and numerous other program information resources which continue to be utilised to this day.

The NDSP ‘Managing Dryland Salinity in Australia’ information resources ‘sold out’ within a period of 15 months of launch, significantly assisted by a series of regionally-based ‘sell in’ activities with key stakeholders, a major launch and media campaign and via marketing through NDSP and partner networks and targeted major events.

A completely revised and updated CD of the full resource kit, together with a further 110 papers and other salinity management information resources, was published in October 2006, while a review of the success of the NDSP ‘Managing Dryland Salinity in Australia’ resource and the outcomes of the NDSP Enhanced Communication Year was finalised in December 2006.

Website: National Dryland Salinity Program

By Kim Mitchell, Currie Communications

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