Landcare Tas statement on 2018 election

Over the last couple of years, Landcare Tasmania has been working hard to get a fair deal for community Landcare from the State government - unfortunately without success.

The 2018 election is a critical time for all sides of politics to step up and support community Landcare in Tasmania.

We've produced a Landcare election manifesto to help you understand the real situation, needs and opportunities that community Landcare offers.

We'll also be publishing any commitments made by the parties and comparing those against our needs.

Landcare and the 2018 Tasmanian election

The 2018 election is a critical time for all sides of politics to step up and support community Landcare in Tasmania.

Community Landcare is a movement of people coming together to address shared challenges in our natural and working landscapes. Landcare Tasmania supports the Landcare movement through a wide range of services designed to strengthen and grow the community effort to make a difference.

Despite years of chronic underfunding and limited access to funds, community Landcare in Tasmania is growing strongly. In the past 18 months, the number of Landcare Tasmania member groups has grown by 25% to more than 200. These groups engage 3,300 members and volunteers, putting in 90,000 hours of voluntary community work annually.

That's the equivalent of 50 full-time positions or $3.3M at the Australian Government's valuation rate for volunteer time. More than 60% of this work is on public or Council land, representing a real saving in management costs for what are often difficult budgets.

This is delivered on the back of annual funding of just $120k from the Tasmanian Government and $95k from the Commonwealth - a return on investment of 16-22 times for every dollar of funding.

The growth in community Landcare has placed a significant strain on Landcare Tasmania's already limited ability to meet demand for services - things like insurance cover, planning and training, producing best practice guides, and funds for basics like costs of incorporation, tools and supplies.

Landcare Tasmania's needs to support this vibrant network of Landcarers are modest. Our requirements from the Tasmanian Government are:

  • Increasing annual funding from a paltry $70k to $250k. This is the minimum needed to operate as a Statewide body supporting over 200 Landcare groups across the State. This is not an ambit claim but a threshold level that will facilitate expansion of support for Landcare from other sources.
  • Allocating $100k annually for direct funding of Landcare groups to support the basics of operating. The Tasmanian Government currently provides $50k annually for this purpose, but this has not increased since 1998 - a decline in real terms of 40%.

Tasmania's community Landcare movement also needs equitable access to other funding sources such as grants. The past few years have seen little investment from the Tasmanian Government and limited access for Landcare groups to Commonwealth funding. 

It's time for governments to lighten up on the 'top down' approach to funding, by recognising and engaging meaningfully with the skills that exist in community Landcare.  These include identifying problems, finding solutions and delivering enduring outcomes. The unique combination of community willingness, strong social networks and local ownership is key to ensuring Government funding is highly leveraged, efficiently used, and makes a real difference.

Community Landcare isn't just about the natural environment or sustainable farming. It involves all sectors of the community and cuts across key social necessities - engaging people in their local communities, building local ownership and pride in achievements, contributing to an active and healthy population, creating infrastructure and assets for future generations.

Landcare Tasmania believes that Tasmanian Government support for community Landcare should be above politics.

It's time for a fair deal for community Landcare in this State.


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.