Minister Blair has portfolio responsibility for the NSW Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative. Here’s what he said in Parliament on 13 February regarding the future of the LLCI:
The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, and Minister for Trade and Industry):
I thank the honourable member for this important question. This Government, at the instigation of Troy Grant, who was the patron of Landcare, committed $15 million to Landcare NSW to provide for Landcare coordinators across the State. I know that many members of this House are members of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare. We have all stood together at Landcare events held in Parliament House and seen the fantastic work that the coordinators do and facilitate across New South Wales. If that work could be presented on a spreadsheet, I am sure it would demonstrate that the return on investment is off the scale. Although presenting that effort on a spreadsheet is extremely difficult, we have all seen evidence of it and we commend the coordinators on the work they do.
The Government is going through the process of preparing its budget. We look at all programs that are funded to see what is needed or wanted. Part of the $15 million funding was to help Landcare NSW develop business plans to reduce their reliance upon the State budget in determining their success over the next 12 months. It was about helping them to look at innovative ways of becoming self-sufficient, such as how they do their membership programs, and other ways they can continue to raise revenue so that they are “government-proof”. I use that term because I do not want an organisation like Landcare to be low-hanging fruit for an expenditure review committee, a Treasurer or a Minister in the future. That was the reason this funding was provided: so that they could work on a business model to be able to stand on their own two feet and continue the fantastic service they provide across New South Wales.
I have seen some of the work they have prepared in doing that. I am confident that they are as strong an organisation today as they have been for many decades. In the 1990s Landcare was a fantastic organisation. It went into a bit of a slumber, but it is back in New South Wales. I commend Rob Dulhunty and Landcare NSW for the work that they are doing. As we go through the preparation of the budget, the funding from the Government to Landcare and other organisations are things that we always consider. However, I know we will not need to put another investment like $15 million into Landcare because of the role that they have played as well as the funding that is coming out of Canberra for some of these natural resource management initiatives. We will continue the budget process. I am not in a position to say at the moment whether that funding will be forthcoming because of the need to consider what they require and whether the Government will be able to continue to provide what it has in the past to support Landcare NSW.
Read more about how Landcare NSW is working to enable a seamless transition to the next phase of the program here: http://landcarensw.org.au/partnerships/sustaining-landcare/