The 2022 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference was held on Thursday 17th March and for the first time it was an entirely online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The existing three-day program was condensed into a single day of inspiring, informative and innovative presentations and discussions attended by over 250 attendees from across the state.

“Despite the challenges we have faced in the lead up to this conference, we were able to all come together. If we have learnt one thing in the last two years, it has been resilience and adaptability,” Landcare NSW Chair Ms Stephanie Cameron said.

Landcare NSW Chair Stephanie Cameron opened the conference.

“Landcare is needed now more than ever. It was so inspiring to see Landcarers from flood affected areas online and sharing their knowledge. Our thoughts and well wishes go out to those who have been and are still being impacted by the devastating floods.”

Hosted by War on Waste’s Craig Reucassal, the event was engaging from the very beginning with an incredible keynote address from Dr Chadden Hunter, producer of the wildlife series Planet Earth.

The day featured concurrent sessions around the theme of the conference: Rethink – Engaging Community; Recharge – Regenerative Agriculture/Land Management; Renew – Biodiversity/Regeneration.

The conference concluded with Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin and NSW Landcare Program Assistant Manager Deb Tkachenko asking the big questions of the over 250 delegates online with their interactive presentation, ‘Rethinking Landcare – Ask the big questions and get answers’.

Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin asking the big questions!

“Thank you to everyone who presented at the conference and shared their knowledge, learnings and insights,” said Ms Cameron.

The conference was followed by a free, online awards ceremony for the prestigious 2021 NSW Landcare Awards where the winners for each of the eight Landcare Award categories were announced.

Acting Local Land Services Board Chair, Allison Harker said, “The quality of the nominations from all across the state were outstanding and after an extensive judging process we have been able to pick our finalists and ultimately the Grand Champions for the eight award categories.”

“The nominees should be proud of their achievements, particularly in the wake of cumulative natural disasters and tough seasonal conditions.

“These nominees have shown tremendous resilience in the face of adversity and these awards are an excellent opportunity for us to say thank you to them and the wider Landcare community,” said Ms Harker.

For a full list of finalists and award winners for the 2021 NSW Landcare awards visit, www.nswlandcareconference.com.au

Grand champions of the NSW National Award categories will now go on to represent the whole NSW Landcare Community at the 2022 National Landcare Awards in Sydney.

Landcare NSW and COVID-19, October 2021

A roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions has been released by the NSW Government. 

Restrictions have recently been eased and will be further eased when the 80% double-dose vaccination target is reached.

Find out about the path forward for all NSW here: Easing restrictions at 80% full vaccination | NSW Government 

To help you to make informed decisions that affect your Landcare group and its activities, or to just keep updated, please see below to get the most current information. 

Should you have situation specific queries or need advice on developing your COVID Policy for events/field days/etc. we strongly urge you to contact Service NSW who are available 24/7 on 13 77 88 as they will have the most relevant information on hand and will help to guide you through the process. 


Please remember, these change day-to-day, and by LGA, and the information Landcare NSW has comes from these websites so if unsure please go directly to the Service NSW website. 


Your COVID-19 Safety Plan, may also need to be updated and  must address the matters required by the approved COVID-19 Safety Checklist. 

The plans set out what businesses and organisations need to do to fulfil their obligations under public health orders and minimise risk of transmission of COVID-19  

Complete the relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan for your industry. You need to keep a copy of your plan and provide it when asked to an authorised person. 

For more information and guidance: 

Landcare NSW and COVID-19, August 2021

The current situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing and as such government and industry advice about, and in response to, the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing as new information becomes available.

To help you with both organisation, community, business and personal decisions, or to just keep updated, please see below to get the most current information.

Should you have situation specific queries we strongly urge you to contact Service NSW who are available 24/7 on 13 77 88 as they will have the most relevant information on hand and will help you guide you through the process.

However, with current Stay At Home Public Health Orders in place, you must stay home and only leave your home if you have a reasonable excuse (see Rules below and what is a ‘reasonable excuse’).

  • If you must leave home, stay within your local area. Do not travel outside your local area if you can avoid it.
  • Limit your physical contact with people you do not live with. See the restrictions for visitors to a residence here
  • You must carry a face mask with you at all times and wear a face mask when required when you leave your home.

Please remember, these change day-to-day, and the information Landcare NSW has is informed by these websites so if unsure please go directly to NSW Government website

COVID-19 Rules

Learn about the rules and restrictions in NSW and what you can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19 here

Exempted Gatherings

Places that fall under ‘exempted gatherings’ must follow the relevant rules including:
– the wearing of face masks
– having a COVID-19 safety plan and
– mandatory electronic check-in (QR codes).

General Information

2021 COVID-19 Support Package

The NSW Government will provide financial assistance, support measures and tax relief to help businesses and people across the state impacted by the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Businesses, sole traders and small not-for-profits

The new small business support payment will support up to an estimated 500,000 entities employing more than 3 million people.

More here

Regional stay at home rules

Viewing the map

  • Enter an address to check whether it is in a local government area where the stay at home rules apply.
  • Click on the map for a link to the rules that apply to a local government area.
COVID-19 Safety Plans

Your COVID-19 Safety Plan must address the matters required by the approved COVID-19 Safety Checklist.

The plans set out what businesses and organisations need to do to fulfil their obligations under public health orders and minimise risk of transmission of COVID-19 on their premises.

Complete the relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan for your industry. You need to keep a copy of your plan and provide it when asked to an authorised person.

Rules and restrictions for the regional and rural affected areas in NSW where stay at home rules are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

For more information click here

Or here

Working and Businesses


Visit this site to see information that covers workplace laws, obligations and entitlements for:

  • employers and employees affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • employers and employees who previously participated in the JobKeeper scheme (qualifying employers, legacy employers and eligible employees)
  • employers and employees covered by awards varied by the Fair Work Commission during coronavirus (such as the Vehicle Award).

More here

Working from home

Employers must allow an employee to work from home if it is reasonably practicable to do so.

If you cannot work from home and you go to your workplace, you must wear a face mask (unless an exemption applies).

Full details here

Mandatory electronic check-in (QR codes)

Check in is required by staff and customers when they enter certain premises. This covers all industries bar providing emergency services, by vehicle if you do not leave your vehicle, if you are under 18 years of age and it is not possible to register your contact details, to exercise law enforcement, intelligence or national security functions on behalf of a NSW Government or Australian Government agency, a health or medical facility (other than a pharmacy) as a patient or a farm. Activities on farm we suggest still having a sign in register.

Information regarding QR codes here

COVID-19 Safe outdoor gatherings

An outdoor public gathering is a COVID-19 safe outdoor gathering if the organiser

  • has and complies with a COVID-19 Safety Plan that addresses the matters required by the approved COVID-19 safety checklist and
  • keeps a copy of the COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • makes a copy of the COVID-19 Safety Plan available to an authorised officer or a police officer as requested.

For more about the requirements for a COVID-19 Safety Plan – outdoor events click here

Additional Information

Landcare NSW COVID-19 update – July 2020

As we move into the second half of the year, the days and months since the first official announcement of COVID-19 have changed the framework of how we conduct our lives and work. 

In an environment where each week and day can be different from the next, we would like to reach out to remind you to continue to take appropriate measures within your Landcare workplace and work sites.

As of July 6, the NSW Government states that no more than 20 people are allowed to gather outside in a public place and all businesses can now open and operate under the one person per 4 square metre rule.

For some types of businesses, you are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan. Find out about developing a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your business.

Ongoing recommendations remain in place for any vulnerable members of the community.

For many of our Landcare groups this has been a trying time and we would like to thank our entire community for the flexibility and strength that they have shown in these past months.

However, we would remind our members who have insurance through Ceneta and Community Underwriting, of the statement they released on Friday March 20 via Landcare NSW stating that:

“The advice they have given for Landcare groups holding events is as follows:

 We are unable to cover events where the attendees exceed either the current federal or state advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

– Where events are conducted with attendees less than the government recommendation, we recommend an organisation to undertake a risk assessment taking in the government advice.

An update as of July 6, 2020 is as follows:

If the groups are acting within the government rules and taking all reasonable care and precautions, there would seem to be no reason an event could not proceed, particularly if their own risk assessment suggests it is O.K.

There is no exclusion for COVID-19 in the policy wording but reinsurers globally are moving fairly quickly to impose them.

All new business and renewals from 1 July will be subject to new wordings which include a Listed Human Disease Exclusion.

As the majority of Landcare groups renewed before the new policy wording was released on 1 July, they are subject to the original wording which does not exclude COVID19.

However please note that Indemnity under any policy depends on the specific facts of any particular incident and terms and conditions.”

This response remains in place and is guided by the State and Federal guidelines.

We encourage you to speak directly to your insurance provider should you have event specific queries and visit NSW Health to see updated guidelines in response to each event you hold.

Additionally, NSW Workplace Health and Safety has guidelines and a risk assessment in response to COVID-19 to help guide you and your activities during this time.

Here at Landcare NSW our staff are still working remotely where practicable and we are registered as a COVID-19 safe workplace.

As always, we are only a phone, email, or social media message away.

Stay up to date with current advice as circumstances change and review your activities and risk management accordingly. Visit www.health.nsw.gov.au.

Above all, practice healthy hygiene and always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Landcare NSW COVID-19 update

Please check the NSW Government website for the most up to date information.

We understand that you may have many questions on what to do with your Landcare group as restrictions are eased. The NSW Government has eased certain restrictions with further changes coming from 1 July.

We’d like to update you on the measures we’re taking at Landcare NSW.

To ensure we are providing a safe workplace, Landcare NSW has registered as a COVID Safe business. However, there are some things that need to be completed but we are on our way.

We strongly recommend all Landcare NSW member groups complete the check list for your workplaces (offices, events, working bee site, etc) and register as a safe work place:

  • Register at https://www.nsw.gov.au/register-your-business-as-covid-safe
  • Download and complete the check lists
  • You should complete the list with staff, volunteers before going to the next step
  • Register as a COVID19 safe workplace (including volunteers)
  • Display this on all sites (website, social media, etc).

If any groups can not comply with this then they are NOT COVID Safe. It is up to your group to ensure that you are acting consistently with current regulations.

All volunteer Landcare activities must be conducted in accordance with current legal requirements in place in NSW. Rules regarding gatherings and movement outside of home have changed and are likely to continue to change. It is up to you and your group to ensure you act in accordance with these requirements and check with your insurance provider before undertaking activities.

For all insurance related questions, please contact your insurance provider directly.

Pay particular attention to the guidelines that apply to vulnerable people, who are encouraged to continue to stay home and protect their health, or take extra precautions when out and about.

For many of our Landcare groups this is a time of change and we would like to thank our entire community for the flexibility and strength that they have shown in these past weeks and months.

Stay up to date with current advice as circumstances change and review your activities and risk management accordingly. Above all, practice social distancing, healthy hygiene and always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Opinion Editorial: Landcare is central to natural disaster response, recovery and resilience building

While Australia grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic which poses an acute threat to our wellbeing and way of life, climate change and its many manifestations remains a serious and chronic threat to life as we know it.

Unpredictable and devastating shifts in our weather patterns are creating havoc in the bush, with devastating impacts such as prolonged and severe drought and widespread bushfires, like the unprecedented events we witnessed last summer.

The cost of these natural disasters to our communities, our economy and our environment is incalculable. Is this the new normal given that an ever-increasing human population may be pushing the limits of our planet’s natural systems? If so, how do we as a society best respond to these challenges to be prepared to respond, recover and build resilience to future natural disasters?

Government cannot solve such complex and large-scale natural calamities alone. As we are seeing with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it needs to partner and work together with communities to be able to prioritise, and get support for, on-ground action that delivers real outcomes.

This also applies to other common natural disasters in Australia, such as drought and bushfires. Indeed, the federal government’s National Strategy for Disaster Resilience- Community Engagement Framework (2013) recognises that emergency management is a shared responsibility for all of society.

By working directly with communities, governments can provide a sense of hope, build community resilience and increase preparedness for the next drought, bushfire or pandemic.

By working with and through community-led charity organisations, government can leverage its investment by tapping into an army of volunteers, as well as their social capital and the intimate knowledge and expertise of their local landscape for lasting and effective solutions.

Landcare, both at a state and federal level, can provide these benefits to government. Today, in NSW alone, there are tens of thousands of Landcarers aggregated in thousands of groups. Not only are they passionate and highly knowledgeable on matters pertaining to environmental protection and agricultural systems, they also deliver enormous value to NSW. A recent study indicated that Landcare in NSW delivers more than $500 million a year in value, a massive return on investment.
Landcare’s ability to punch way above its weight hinges on its massive network and social capital that connects people at the local, district, regional, state and national scale. This unique combination is one of Landcare’s secret sauces – the other is its people’s intimate knowledge of their local communities, farms and landscapes, essential ingredients to finding solutions tailored for local needs.

Landcarers live and work in local communities and are part of the social fabric: for example, they volunteer with the Rural Fire Service and other community organisations, many of whom are on the front line of natural disaster management.

They are farmers and landholders dealing with prolonged drought, business owners dealing with difficult economic conditions; above all they are local citizens committed to making a difference.
NSW Landcarers have been heavily involved in emergency responses, recovery and resilience-building work for many years and have delivered great value to their communities in this area.

Landcare’s activities are many and varied. For example, Landcare is a critical source and channel of communication to communities; Landcare supports farmers with government funded relief programs, raises awareness with their local communities of Rural Support Services Network, and organises social events, get-togethers and workshops to help communities cope with the stress.

Landcare organises educational programs and workshops to help raise awareness and best-practice in relation to natural disasters and building community resilience. Furthermore, Landcare undertakes on-ground projects related to natural disaster recovery and preparedness and leverages government funding to attract additional funding from corporates, philanthropy and local government for local projects.

Landcare wants to do more, much more, and it is ready.

Given what Landcare does, and considering the enormous benefits that Landcare has so consistently delivered these past 30 years, why would government not choose to partner with Landcare as a delivery vehicle for its natural disaster response, recovery and resilience-building programs?

Landcare NSW COVID-19 update – April 2020

As of Sunday, 30th March the Federal Government announced that no more than 2 people can be in an enclosed space within 1.5m of each other & any non-essential movements is to be restricted.

This also included recommendations that any people over the age of 70, those with a chronic illness aged over 60 or who have a chronic medical condition that leaves them vulnerable, and Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 should stay at home as much as practical.

Exemptions include: People of the same household gathering together; Funerals, where a maximum of 10 people can gather; Weddings, where there can be up to five people; Family units, which is understood to mean immediate family.

The National Cabinet also gave “strong guidance” for all Australians to stay home unless people were: Shopping for “food and necessary supplies”; Providing medical, healthcare or compassionate services; Exercising in a group of two; Working or studying if they could not do so remotely

For many of our Landcare groups this is a difficult task, however we would remind our members who have insurance through Community Underwriting that they released a statement on March 20 stating that: “The advice they have given for Landcare groups holding events is as follows: We are unable to cover events where the attendees exceed either the current federal or state advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups; Where events are conducted with attendees less than the government recommendation, we recommend an organisation to undertake a risk assessment taking in the government advice.”

Additionally, NSW Workplace Health & Safety has released guidelines to help guide you & your activities during this time.

The Federal Government has also released a Stimulus Package to support households & businesses & address the significant economic consequences of the Coronavirus. Further information is attached. Landcare Groups should talk to their financial advisers to see if they are eligible.

We do not take these times lightly, but we continue to work with all staff and partners across NSW to ensure that all projects & programs are supported beyond this crisis. We remind ourselves that Landcare has survived the devastation of drought, flood and fire. It will survive COVID-19.

Our programs and partnerships are still in place & on track. Grant and funding bodies are aware of current restrictions regarding deliverables and will work with groups to negotiate deadlines. The NSW Landcare Program team is working directly with all coordinators to ensure that any deliverables are flexible and realistic. Should you wish to discuss your concerns, please contact Natasha English via email nenglish@landcarensw.org.au.

Above all, practice healthy hygiene & always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

Landcare NSW


Fact Sheet – Supporting Businesses

Federal Government Stimulus Package further information

Landcare NSW COVID-19 Communications Update

A message to the National Landcare Network community regarding COVID-19

From National Landcare Network Chair, Dr Patrick O’Connor

To all members, associates and Stakeholders of the Australian National Landcare movement, we live in extraordinary times. Many areas of our vast nation are still suffering the impacts and aftermath of drought, floods and bushfires.

On top of all this we are now also facing the COVID-19 health crisis and associated business and economic strain.

We have faced, bushfires, drought and floods, and even financial crises before, but we have not in most of our lifetimes faced a health crisis of the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 health crisis is not regionally restricted as other recent environmental challenges are, and is affecting us all either directly or indirectly and will continue to do so in ways we cannot yet foresee.

We must remain informed of government direction in dealing with the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves as individuals, our families, friends and associates and our organisations, and our broader communities.

One of the many great strengths of the Landcare movement is that it is community based, community driven and founded in the genuine caring and empathy of its members for those around them in the face of challenging circumstances and uncertainty.

We have seen these characteristics in our members through the drought, floods and bushfires and will see them again throughout 2020.

There are countless sources of excellent advice available to the general public and I add here only a few suggestions to assist Landcarers to manage Landcare-related issues in the coming months;

  • Grants: Many groups will be in the middle of completing grant-funded projects with State, Federal or other granting agencies. These grants may be for activities which are not currently possible, and many will require reporting and reconciliations which may be difficult to complete due to incomplete actions or data and reporting resource interruptions.Should you find yourself with project and reporting interruptions, we encourage you to contact your granting body to seek the necessary extensions, exemptions, and instructions to address the situation. It is wise to prepare ahead of the deadlines and granting bodies should be preparing for this to occur.
  • Communication: At times like these it is important to communicate effectively and openly with each other, especially staying in touch with those in your networks who are isolated and vulnerable. Who might benefit from your contact and support in these times? What are the best ways to communicate for people you are connected to (many of the most isolated and vulnerable people in our communities are not easily contacted through social media). Communication also helps to maintain our sense of community, belonging and unity of purpose. All of these are important to coping and recovery in our networks and communities.
  • Plan and Prepare for recovery: Opportunities for recovery will come when circumstances change and the next months are a good time for planning and preparing for a positive future.
  • Disruptions: At all times heed official advice and restrictions in place to manage the current circumstances. Project disruptions may be unavoidable, challenges should be discussed and unnecessary risk avoided.
  • Keep things normal: Keep operating as normally as possible within the restrictions on gatherings and as advice changes. Try to do keep doing things normally as much as possible, including Landcare activities, but modify behaviours to fit current circumstances.
  • Sources of information: Use your State or Territory Landcare Peak body to track down key sources of information you will need over the next few months, and visit information sources regularly to make sure to keep up to date. Your Landcare Peak body may be providing regular updates. You can provide feedback and stories for sharing.
  • Do new things, think about ways in which you can do things differently during this time, share those thoughts and ideas with the NLN and others. Can Landcaring become a virtual activity, does this offer an opportunity to engage with groups we don’t usually think of?
  • Reach out, during this time reach out just a little further beyond those you normally talk too, build new relationships, extend your network to the next level.

The National Landcare Network continues to work towards the objectives of the Australian Landcare movement and will be working to keep Landcare strong in these challenging times.

Patrick O’Connor
Chair – National Landcare Network
Landcare Association of South Australia
NLN Board Delegate

Resources: National Landcare Network Communique – A message to the Australian Landcare movement regarding COVID-19 

On behalf of

Stephanie Cameron
Landcare New South Wales
NLN Board Delegate
Josie Kelman
Landcare Tasmania
NLN Board Delegate
Sue McKinnon
Landcare Northern Territory
NLN Board Delegate
 Keith Bradby
 West Australian Landcare Network
NLN Board Delegate
Maxine Cooper
Landcare Australian Capital Territory
NLN Board Delegate
Geoff Elliot
Queensland Water and Land Carers
NLN Board Delegate
Kaye Rodden
Landcare Victoria Inc.
NLN Board Delegate
Jim Adams
Chief Executive Officer
National Landcare Network

A message from the CEO: Landcare NSW’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Given the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a public health emergency on 30th January 2020, we are taking action to help ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of our Landcare community, partners and supporters.

COVID-19 is having a substantial impact on communities and individuals across the world. Our thoughts go out to those who have been directly impacted by this crisis.

At Landcare NSW, we will be issuing regular internal policy updates to keep our team members informed and safe. We are relying heavily on the advice provided at both the Federal and State level.

We are in the advantageous position of staff being spread throughout a state-wide network, many working remotely, as of today (17 March 2020) we have instructed all our staff, if possible, to work from home. We suggest that all Coordinators work directly with their host organisations to discuss their work arrangements as guided by the Department of Health.

Interstate travel has been stopped until further notice with meetings run via video conferencing.

Due to the fluid nature of this situation we will continue to review our position based on government advice and will notify you if there is any change to this.

At present we are working with stakeholders and partners to address any concerns and contingency measures relating to any projects our network facilitates.

Under the guidance of the State and Federal Department of Health, the most effective way to help prevent the spread of viruses, is to practise good hygiene and social distancing. This is additionally crucial for those who visit or work with vulnerable groups.

Good hygiene includes:
• covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
• disposing of tissues properly
• washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet for at least 30 seconds
• using alcohol-based hand sanitisers
• cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
• if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people

Read more about protective measures against coronavirus on the World Health Organization website.

Social distancing includes:
• staying at home when you are unwell
• avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential
• keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible
• minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people and people with existing health conditions
• If you have returned from an overseas trip you are now required to self-quarantine to avoid future spread of the infection.

Find out more about social distancing and avoiding public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

You should also follow our advice for travellers and advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

Additionally, we advise that if you are planning to, or are holding Landcare activities, you follow the state and federal governments advice listed above and regularly check their websites for updated advice to ensure that everyone emerges from COVID-19 safe and sound.