The 2019 Federal election will provide a significant opportunity for the next Australian government to refocus the current National Landcare Program (NLP) to better deliver on its name - Landcare.
Despite an investement of $1.1B over 5 years, current funding for Landcare is at its lowest level since 2002. The Program is also misaligned with the needs and aspirations of Australia's community Landcare movement, and is largely inaccessible to them. To Landcare Tasmania, this is a wasted opportunity to generate much greater benefit from investment in community Landcare. Changes to the current NLP will be needed to realise its potential.
Essential to the success of sustainable environmental programs are:
- Increased base funding of Landcare Tasmania to support and empower community Landcare organisation (est. $200k / year for 5 years);
- Employment of part-time community facilitators to work out of Community Landcare Hubs (existing buildings) to be managed by Landcare Tasmania and hosted in community Landcare organisations (est. $280k / year for 5 years);
- A carbon credits program enabling landowners to access private funding for increases in carbon storage through restoration of native vegetation and changes to soil management ($TBA);
- A well-funded, community Landcare-based feral cat trapping and control program to continue highly successful work funded by the Threatened Species Commissioner (est. $1m / year for 5 years);
Reinstatement of the best elements of past programs to deliver synergies around environment and sustainable land management, including funding for (est. $5 m / year for 5 years):
- Biodiversity, particularly on private land, and secured under a Stewardship Program;
- Corridors to restore ecological function of landscapes and to complement land management and production;
- A community water monitoring, planning and implementation program covering governance, supply, quality, use and management of important freshwater areas;
- Sustainable land management practices emphasising community Landcare to build resilience and maintain outcomes over time; and,
- Reinstatement of the National Reserve Program, to address gaps on private land through voluntary participation by owners and managers and long-term access to resources for ongoing management.
The volunteers that make up Australia's 6,000 community Landcare groups come from all sectors of society - they are it's greatest asset.
Community Landcare builds resilience in communities, in towns, regions and on farms, improving human and environmental health and wellbeing. It leads to ownership by the community of their environment and sustainability challenges, the design and delivery of solutions, and the maintenance of outcomes over time.
Community Landcare in Tasmania is also growing strongly, reflecting the willingness and generosity of the community to volunteer to make a difference. 60 of our 220 Landcare groups have formed in the last 3 years. Their army of regular members and volunteers numbers 4,400, with a total collective effort of 135,000 hours. That's the time equivalent of 65 full time positions, or a dollar value of $5.7M at the volunteer rate determined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
National initiatives needed to support and leverage community Landcare include increased overall funding, access to small grants, building community capacity and resilience, focusing on climate change and biosecurity, reviewing the structure and funding of NRM, new community Landcare hubs and genuine community engagement in program design.
Landcare Tasmania has also conducted a review of past programs and how they have operated within the State, to identify the types of investments that will make the most difference here. This work was largely done through our Members Council, a standing committee of Landcare Tas that provides the forum for representation of members interests and issues.
Click below for further state and federal information:
- Election commitments that would have the greatest impact for Tasmania
- Background information on the community Landcare movement in the State
National Landcare Network
- NLN and Landcare Australia Landcare Policy Statement 2019
- NLN Landcare Policy Statement Background Paper 2019
- NLN Policy Statement 2019 FAQs
Authorised by Rod Knight, 100 Elizabeth St, Hobart, 7000.