Land and environment jobs would help to build a post-COVID economy

Landcare NSW is disappointed the Federal Budget did not include funding for a Land Management and Conservation Stimulus Package but recommends the Federal Government keep the idea on the table.

Landcare NSW welcomes the Budget allocation for projects to improve ocean health, renew visitor infrastructure in world heritage sites and expand recycling infrastructure.

“This Budget focused on tax cuts and infrastructure but there is still a chance for the Government to stimulate the economy by working with the volunteer Landcare community to create jobs in managing the land and environment,” said Landcare NSW CEO Dr Adrian Zammit.

In the lead up to the Budget, along with 70 farming and conservation groups around the country, Landcare NSW asked the Federal Government to fund a national conservation jobs plan.

Dr Adrian Zammit, said: “Our sector stands ready to make a massive contribution to job creation around the country.

“We are confident we can stimulate the economy by creating jobs to restore the environment which has been severely impacted by fires and drought.

“Our land needs people to plant trees, erect fencing, restore riverbanks, remove pests and weeds and create habitat for threatened species,” said Dr Zammit.

“These are the kind of jobs and training young people want.

“Building homes and supporting business is welcome but we need a greater focus on the natural infrastructure that sustains our quality of life and enables wildlife to survive.”

Landcare is a well-established, trusted community movement that has robust systems, sound financial management and experience, enabling it to scale up quickly to deliver land and environment projects.

‘This investment would create social, economic and environmental benefits in the short, medium and long term,’ said Dr Zammit.

Polls shows 86% of NSW residents support conservation jobs plan

A new poll has found 86% of NSW residents strongly support Federal Government investment in a Land Management and Conservation Jobs Plan to stimulate the economy.

Out of 12 options the Federal Government could choose to restore employment in regional communities, investment in practical environmental jobs like planting trees, removing weeds and restoring rivers came out on top for NSW residents. 

The polling, commissioned by the National Landcare Network, found three quarters (77%) of NSW residents are concerned about the health of the country’s forests, rivers and wildlife, with a similar number (78%) agreeing that economic stimulus funding should be used to help communities and the environment recover from the bushfires and drought.

“This research shows people want to see government investment to create jobs and stimulate the economy while helping our landscapes recover,” said Dr Adrian Zammit, CEO of Landcare NSW.

“With thousands of Australians looking for work, the Government needs to be proactive in job-creation schemes and collaborate with Landcare organisations who know their local landscapes and are ready to create meaningful work that will leave a lasting legacy for the environment which has been severely impacted by fires and drought,” he said.

The polling comes off the back of data showing that there has been a 134% increase in people actively looking for work through the Federal Government’s JobActive program over the first six months of 2020. There were 1.4 million people looking for work in the second quarter of 2020, which is an increase of 821,000 people compared to the final quarter of 2019.

Funding practical environmental work came in as the second most popular (75% support) out of 12 options for keeping people in regional communities employed, second only to increasing funding for training and apprenticeships (78%).

More than 70 conservation and farming organisations, including Landcare, National Farmers Federation, NRM Regions Australia, Australian Land Conservation Alliance, and Pew Charitable Trusts, are calling on state and federal governments to fund thousands of jobs undertaking practical conservation activities.

A recent report by Ernst & Young, commissioned by the alliance, found that a $4 billion national conservation and land management employment program would create 53,000 jobs, reduce welfare costs by $620 million and raise economic output by $5.7 billion over the next four years, with economic gains rising to $9.3 billion over the next 20 years. 

National Landcare Network CEO Jim Adams said the polling indicated broad support nationwide.

“Australians are overwhelmingly supportive of COVID-recovery initiatives that can keep people in work while also helping damaged landscapes recover,” he said

“They see that practical initiatives to help plant trees, restore degraded river systems and eradicate noxious weeds and feral animals are an ideal way to help improve our landscapes while also ensuring communities survive this tough period.”

“Landcare has a 30-year track record of managing projects and partnerships on the ground to support agriculture and conservation, building community spirit in the process. As a grassroots community movement that is well-governed with high professional standards it is a reliable and cost-effective option for government expenditure,” said Dr Zammit.

A program summary can be found here See program summary here.

A summary of the polling results can be found here.


MEDIA RELEASE – Landcare NSW keen to create environment jobs for economic stimulus

Landcare NSW keen to create environment jobs for economic stimulus

Landcare NSW is part of a coalition of 70 conservation and farming organisations calling for a large-scale investment in conservation and land management by all levels of government.

A report delivered by Ernst & Young and released by Pew Charitable Trusts, found that a $4 billion national conservation and land management employment program would create 53,000 jobs, reduce welfare costs by $620 million and raise economic output by $5.7 billion over the next four years.

“The ‘Delivering economic stimulus through the conservation and land management sector’ report highlights the need and ability for organisations such as Landcare NSW to deliver large scale, high quality conservation and land management programs,” says Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit.

“Landcare is a well-established community movement with projects ready to go; we are ready to scale up our activities to create jobs and help local economies.”

“This is a hugely beneficial investment, both for the government and the wider community. By investing in this positive initiative, we will see enormous social, economic and environmental benefits in the short, medium and long term.”

“The NSW Landcare community stands ready to scale up in response to the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19, bushfires and drought. We have the skills and knowledge,” said Dr Zammit.

The investment would fund practical activities such as tree planting, weed control and restoration of rivers, wetlands and coastal habitats especially in areas whose economies hard hit by COVID-19 and natural disasters.

“Landcare in NSW has the infrastructure in place, which means funding would not get wasted setting up new bureaucracies but would go straight to local jobs through an established community-based organisations.”

In partnership with the NSW Government and NSW Local Land Services, Landcare has a central team, 73 Local Landcare Coordinators and 11 Regional Landcare Coordinators who assist in the running of Landcare groups and implementation of projects across the state.

Media contact:
Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit
p: 0487 767 955

Environmental leaders call for $4 billion boost to support economic recovery


15th April, 2020

Environmental leaders call for $4 billion boost to support Australia’s economic recovery

Landcare NSW is one of over 70 environmental and farming groups that have signed a proposal to the Australian Government to create 24,000 jobs in land rehabilitation through a post-pandemic stimulus package.

The $4 billion plan would apply the skills and infrastructure of these respected organisations to the massive task of rebuilding the economy when the COVID 19 situation transitions from crisis to recovery.

The goal is to create jobs and economic stimulus by activating land management and conservation projects across the nation.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit, says the nation-building proposal represented a remarkable show of unity by organisations that offer an extraordinary depth of experience, skill and commitment to conservation and agriculture.

The stimulus package would get the recently unemployed back into jobs where they would be engaged in meaningful work to help the land recover after the devastation of natural disasters.

“Drought, followed by catastrophic bushfires and flash flooding, have wreaked havoc on farms, landscapes and communities, and on-ground recovery work has been curtailed due to regulations to contain the virus,” says Dr Zammit.

“A national environmental stimulus package will help communities and landscapes to recover from the economic impact of COVID 19 and the financial and social impacts of the recent natural disasters.”

“Across Landcare alone there are tens of thousands of Australians actively involved in environmental action across all types of land tenure.”

“Stimulating community Landcare offers a huge opportunity to employ a workforce in improving the sustainability of our communities, environment and agricultural sectors,” says Dr Zammit.

Jobs in areas such as weed and pest control, river and catchment restoration and the repair of habitat and infrastructure damaged by fire would ensure tens of thousands of workers across NSW would be supported beyond the immediate crisis. The program would include funding for private land conservation by farmers and other land managers, tree-planting in urban and rural areas, coastal habitat restoration in partnership with communities and the fishing industry and marine plastics clean-up projects.

Media Release: 20 04 15 – Environmental Leaders call for $4 billion boost to support Australia’s economic recovery