Landcare NSW has welcomed the announcement made by the NSW Labor Party to commit $59 million to the next phase of the NSW Landcare Program.

Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin said this support is much appreciated and will go a long way towards stopping the decline of the environment.

“On behalf of Landcare groups across the state, we would like to thank the NSW Labor Party for their generous pledge to fully support our ask for funding to not only continue, but to grow the NSW Landcare Program over the next four years.

“Landcare is needed now more than ever. Landcare across NSW stands ready to respond to the many challenges in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management and would rather see activity levels grow than simply maintaining them or worse, see them decline,” said Mr Guerin.

Landcarers have consistently advised $59 million is needed to maintain the high standard of outcomes and capacity building currently being delivered across NSW.

“A fully funded program will not only continue the significant progress achieved over the past four years but build on it. With this funding, we will be able to harness the capacity and willingness of a 60,000-strong network of volunteers to provide essential support services and increase our efforts to make our environment and communities more resilient to extreme climate events and to reverse the decline in our precious biodiversity.”

Mr Guerin said a Government investment of $59 million will generate around a quarter of a billion dollars in benefits for NSW regional businesses, government agencies and rural economies, which would be an extraordinary return on government funding. It will also continue to foster resilience in those communities.

“A supported Landcare community returns at least $4 for every $1 invested. The investment will include supporting leadership development heading into the next generation and the employment of more than 100 community leaders to help combat the increasing skills gap expected to occur over the coming decade in rural and regional NSW.

“The funding will go to local jobs that support rural and regional communities. It will go to creating an additional 11 new regional First Nations Landcare Officer roles. Having a larger, connected network of regional First Nations Officers will increase opportunities to consciously develop stronger connections and partnerships between Landcare groups and Aboriginal Communities.

“Landcare NSW, a community-led non-for-profit organisation is proving a great service delivery partner for the NSW Government with a wonderful return on previous funding. Landcare have been providing nature-based solutions, so needed now by emerging markets, for the past 30 years and we will continue to do so,” said Mr Guerin.

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