The next few years will be critical for community Landcare in Tasmania.
The next government needs to step up and support Landcare in the right ways and with adequate amounts of funding.
Failure to do so could well see recent growth, which has included a 25% increase in the number of Landcare Tas member groups to over 200, stall and go into decline.
With that will come the loss of the social, economic and environmental benefits that these tireless heroes of our community volunteer to provide.
Below you'll find a comparison of commitments that the parties contesting the election have made.
Landcare Tasmania's needs from the Tasmanian government are modest.
- An increase in base funding from $70k to $250k per annum. This is the minimum required to meet the demand for services from Landcare groups and to function effectively as a Statewide peak body representing and supporting 200 member groups and over 3,000 of their members and volunteers.
- An increase in the Landcare Assistance Program from $50k to $100k per annum. These are funds that go to support the basic costs for Landcare groups to operation, e.g. insurance, tools, incorporation etc. This funding has not increased at all since 1998 and has declined by 40% in real terms in that time.
There is also a need for new funding initiatives (e.g. grants) that are accessible to community Landcare, and that recognises and engages with the skills to identify problems, delelop effective solutions and deliver enduring outcomes.
2018 Tasmania Election commitments to Landcare
Base funding: Double the funding to the Tasmanian Landcare Association to $960,000 over 4 years to support grass roots landcare groups.
- Establish a new $2 million Landcare Action Grants Program over 4 years to coinvest with farmers, landcare, and other community organisations on practical on-ground works for sustainable agriculture and rivercare. This includes $200,000 for the DairyTas “Cows out of Creeks” project.
- invest $5 million over 5 years into a new Weed Action Fund which will invest with farmers, landcare and other community
organisations to tackle weeds that are impacting on valuable agricultural or environmental assets.
- A new Tasmanian Weed Advocate – a recognised community landcare leader – will work in partnership with existing DPIPWE weeds and invasive species experts and stakeholders to identify the strategic on-ground priorities across land tenures and coordinate the Weed Action Fund.
Landcare Tasmania comments:
- The doubling of funding to Landcare Tasmania is welcome but will still be less than minimum requirements. If the current split of funds is maintained, we would be able to double the Landcare Assistance Program to $100k per annum and thus meet the target for funds to directly support the basics for community Landcare groups to operate. On the same basis our operational support would increase to $140k per annum - still short of the minimum of $250k we genuinely need to support our 200 members groups and be an effective Statewide representative body.
- The new Landcare and Weeds grants are a significant initiative with potential to make a real difference on the ground. However the devil will be in the detail to ensure that the funds are accessible to community Landcare and that there is meaningful engagement in the design and devolution of funding through the programs.
- Not really a comment on the commitment, but the Tasmanian Landcare Association ceased to exist in 2012, when it changed it's name to Landcare Tasmania Inc.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for information only. Landcare Tasmania is an apolitical organisation and does not endorse any party or make recommendations on how people should cast their vote.
Authorised by: Rod Knight, 100 Elizabeth St, Hobart.