Is a third of Australia covered by deserts?

This is not a straightforward question.

To many people, desert is land that has no cultivation value at all, and if this is the case, less than half of Australia is desert. However, some regard the outback as desert, whereas large portions of the outback are used for beef cattle and sheep.

According to the Desert Knowledge Australia Fact Sheet, 70% of Australia is classified as desert or semi-arid. However, much of this land is used for grazing beef cattle and sheep, so it is not desert in the truest sense. Other figures state an estimated 44% percent, or over one-third of Australia is made up of sandy or stony arid desert, while another 37% is semi-arid grassland or scrub.