OPINION EDITORIAL: Why investment in Landcare is an efficient and effective investment in our communities

BY Landcare NSW CEO, Turlough Guerin

With the devastation we have seen on the North Coast and other parts of the state through flooding on a scale we’ve not witnessed or experienced before, we are all asking ourselves ‘How can we help?’ ‘How can we get money on the ground where it is needed most?’

After the catastrophic bushfires in 2019-2020, there was community disquiet with how some donor funds collected by the many charities involved were distributed. Specifically the revelation that frequently, the proportion of funds reaching communities was too low as a proportion of total donations. Communities and donors must be confident that their funds are going where they expect them to go, and not on excessive administration costs.

Landcare NSW is a registered charity and prides itself on ensuring that funds are distributed to landholders and Landcare groups on the ground where it is needed most.

As a coordinated network of groups supported by a central team, the organisation provides a diversity of “ecosystem services” helping to restore and remediate and where possible prevent and protect our precious ecosystems from future climate events through our member groups, distributed across the 11 geographical regions that stretch across NSW. This diversity, along with our local embedded community presence, gives us our unique position in the conservation and land management sector.

One reason for the success of the Landcare movement and its attraction to granting bodies and fund donors is the effectiveness of dispersal that occurs when investments are made into our programs. For example, during the recent bushfires of 2019-2020, Commonwealth funds were able to be leveraged through a program managed by a partnership between the National Landcare Network, Landcare Australia and the Peak Landcare State and Territory Landcare organisations, demonstrating that excellent projects and outcomes for improved delivery of bushfire recovery actions are achieved when Landcare is engaged and supported through donations. Landcare NSW has helped to ensure emergency funding was directed to 55 individual Landcare groups along the east coast. This was able to be done rapidly and efficiently.

Independent studies on the leveraging contribution the Landcare movement makes have shown that for each dollar invested into the organisation – in addition to the social and community dividend provided by enabling and engaging local communities – there is a financial return of at least $6. Last year alone, investments into Landcare NSW of $5 million resulted in revenues across the state of $30 million. These revenues were all literally ploughed back into the mostly regional communities in which they were earned.

Typically, we do not operate on donations. We participate in contestable grants across a diverse range of land conservation and productivity areas, competing with government funding from the State and Commonwealth. In the event of a disaster, any funds donated to Landcare NSW, that is 100% of the donations received, are re-directed back into the groups and communities that are impacted by that natural disaster. This 100% pass-through of donations is a critical factor and attribute of our organisation. Because of the way in which we have set up our central team and distributed group model, we do not carry administrative costs for the disbursement of donations.

Landcare NSW, through its regions, networks, groups, and individual members, has a local affinity and presence with the people directly impacted by natural disaster events.

When there is an event, our people are there and are part of the impacted community.

During these floods, we are seeking donations once again to support these communities and landscapes to recover.

New partnership set to strengthen ties between Landcare and Local Government in NSW

26th November, 2021

NSW peak bodies Landcare NSW and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) are joining forces to work together to improve environmental and community outcomes across NSW.

Landcare NSW Chair, Stephanie Cameron said the partnership is a natural fit for Landcare NSW whose mission is to support grassroots Landcarers to care for our land, environment, and communities.

“We are thrilled to be working with Local Government NSW to formalise the partnership between our two organisations,” Ms Cameron said. “We already work together in many parts of the state through on-ground projects that focus on environmental protection, sustainable food production, and community engagement and wellbeing.

“Landcare NSW has existing relationships with a number of Local Government NSW member Councils who host Regional and Local Landcare Coordinators. This partnership is a step in the right direction to expanding that connection further.”

LGNSW President Clr Linda Scott said the partnership will allow both organisations to achieve strong environmental and social outcomes.

“Councils across NSW are committed to good environmental management, and many already work with Landcare networks and groups to coordinate and collaborate on a range of community led, volunteer driven natural resource management activities and projects,” Cr Scott said.

“This partnership will allow us to explore future opportunities where we can align and collaborate.”

Landcare NSW is the peak body for community Landcare in NSW. It is a not-for-profit organisation that represents the many Landcare groups and volunteers that constitute the Landcare movement in NSW.

The partnership will include a bespoke membership opportunity for Local Government NSW members to support and connect with Landcare in their local region.

Landcare NSW is the peak representative body of community Landcare groups in NSW. Landcare is a community-driven approach to sustainable natural resource management with a focus on improving the resilience of the environment now and into the future.

Local Government NSW is the peak body for local government in NSW, representing general purpose councils and related entities. Local Government NSW aims to strengthen and protect an effective, democratic system of local government across NSW by supporting and advocating on behalf of member councils, including actively and persuasively representing the views of local government to the NSW and Australian governments.

Media Contacts:
Landcare NSW Jodie Lovell – 0439 316 151
Local Government NSW Media: 0448 718 892