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
e: azammit@landcarensw.org.au
p: 0487 767 955

A Landcare-led recovery is taking place across Australia

Opinion editorial courtesy of the National Landcare Network and NLN Chair Dr Patrick O’Connor

Landcare has a long history and has been an example to the world of the mobilisation of people to a sustainability ethic and the formation of an incredible number of groups focusing on local environments.

However, Landcare is commonly mistaken as only being an on-ground implementation program – engaging people in projects to plant trees, manage introduced species, protect endangered species, or otherwise halt environmental decline.

All these are actions that individuals and groups can undertake beneath a Landcare banner, but they are not what Landcare is really about.

Landcare is a social movement for managing change. The movement is 30 years old and arose because Australians naturally care about places we know; we want to connect to people we share ideas with and we feel part of the environmental awareness that has grown alongside agricultural change in post-war Australia.

Tens of thousands of Australians are attracted to Landcare, often as their first contribution to environmental action, because it gives them a chance to express their desire for sustainability and environmental protection through action.

Landcarers often find their voices by first using their hands.

Landcare in Australia is a collective movement and the National Landcare Network (NLN) is the representative voice of Landcarers at the National level.

The NLN and state are accountable to the collective of community Landcare networks and groups.

It is the chain of representation that connects community Landcare groups to the national conversation and ensures the Landcare movement fulfils its role as a movement of change management.

In order to be the best leader of change it is necessary to understand the movement and listen to representatives from all parts of the movement.

Without representative processes Landcare could become a project management business or another part of natural resource bureaucracy.

You are part of the Landcare movement if you have a say in project priorities, if you have a say in adapting actions to local conditions, have a say in bringing innovation to environmental stewardship, if you have a say in fair distribution of funding, and if you have a say in representative organisations from your group up to the NLN.

If you don’t have these things your project falls short of the Landcare ideal.

Why does all this matter? Because environmental variability throws real challenges at our communities, our management of land and water and our economy.

When environmental change is part of natural cycles we learn to live with and adapt to the change.

When the changes come at us from a drying climate or a bushfire, or left field from a virus, we mitigate what we can and we adapt as we must.

Landcare exists because tens of thousands of people recognise that we are more resilient together to tackle the challenges of local environmental degradation, natural disasters, climate change, and species extinction.

Landcare participation is a way of building networks and skills for adapting and responding to changes expected and unexpected.

The key is to be a participant in action, in a learning and sharing environment, with others, and in Landcare organisations where each voice is valued.

It is not easy to see our way past the natural disasters that have hit Australia hard in the last few years, compounded by the massive disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What we do know is that human health, the environment, society and the economy are interwoven and positive actions on one can have benefits for the others.

When the economy starts to wake from the current hibernation it will need to stretch and yawn for a while before it is fully alert.

Stimulating community Landcare activities across Australia offers a huge opportunity to employ an underutilised workforce in improving the sustainability of our community and agricultural sector, and the environment on which it depends.

Landcare programs can be upscaled to get people working immediately and we should take the opportunity to employ Australians in helping to repair the natural infrastructure on which our healthy society depends.

Dr Patrick O’Connor is Chair of the 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.