Landcare and the 2019 Federal election

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.

20160924_Tramway_Hill_LC_Nierinna_Creek_Planting_Working_Bees_lr.jpgThe 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.

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Authorised by Rod Knight, 100 Elizabeth St, Hobart, 7000.