Media Release: Landcare NSW welcomes launch of National Parliamentary Friends of Landcare

Wednesday 17 March

Representatives from Landcare NSW and its network attended the official launch of the National Parliamentary Friends of Landcare at Parliament House in Canberra yesterday when they joined Members of Parliament, national and state landcare organisations and volunteers from across the country to celebrate the occasion.

The creation of the group strengthens the national bipartisan support for Landcare, ensuring the collective voices of grassroots Landcarers will be heard at a national level in the Australian parliament says Landcare NSW Chair and a Director on the National Landcare Network, Stephanie Cameron.

“It is fantastic to see the formation of this group and the political support for Landcare at all levels of government. Our NSW Landcare community has faced a challenging year but has shown their strength and resilience and we are pleased to connect federal Parliamentarians with our community.

“We look forward to supporting the group and growing ties between parliamentarians and our Landcarers to help build understanding through all levels of our community.”

The group was formed by Co-chairs, New South Wales Senator Perin Davey and Victorian Senator Raff Ciccone.

The National Landcare Network and Landcare Australia thanked Senator Davey and Senator Ciccone, and their parliamentary colleagues for championing the work of Landcare, saying it is an important acknowledgement of the beneficial impact Landcare has on the environment, and the role Landcare plays in communities around Australia.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit said the formation of the Parliamentary Friends of Landcare is a significant step forward in highlighting the important and inspiring work that the Landcare movement does for our environment across Australia.

“Enabling members of parliament to directly connect to the work of Landcare on the ground and understand the critical role Landcare plays in restoring health to our landscapes is crucial in working towards a long-term sustainable future,” said Dr Zammit.

The establishment of this Friends group signals to the community the wide parliamentary support and recognition for Landcare and the invaluable role Landcarers play in caring for our country and building resilient, productive landscapes.

The Hon. David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management; the Hon. Julie Collins MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture; the Hon. Sussan Ley, Minister for the Environment, and Ms. Terri Butler MP, Shadow Minister for the Environment all spoke of their support for the Landcare movement, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019.

Parliamentary Friends of Landcare enables members of parliament to directly connect to the work of Landcare on the ground, strengthening the Landcare movement for the future.

For media enquiries:
Samantha Stratton | 0487 767 955
Jodie Lovell

Out and About with Trees in the House

A casualty of COVID19 is the annual gathering hosted by Landcare NSW and the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare known as Trees in the House.

In the esteemed setting of Parliament House in Sydney’s Macquarie Street, Landcarers and MPs celebrate Landcare’s achievements and discuss future challenges.

The name Trees in the House stems from the practice of giving away a small tree to Parliamentarians to take home and plant in their electorate. For this one evening each year, Members of Parliament can be seen walking the corridors of Parliament House with seedlings in hand, ready to plant.

In the remarkably different year of 2020, the event will be remodelled as Out and About with Trees in the House.

Instead of a large gathering in Macquarie Street, regional events will be held in which Landcare groups will invite their Member of Parliament to plant a tree that will be nurtured by the Landcare community in the area.

Regional events will bring together Landcarers, community representatives, government partners and Members of Parliament to showcase and celebrate Landcare in the area.

In a year when communities have been rocked by drought and fire, only to be hit by a pandemic, Landcare has shown its resilience and determination to care for the land, protect biodiversity and look after people and rural industries.

Landcare NSW will provide information and resources to support Landcarers who would like to take the concept of Trees in the House and replicate it in the regions.

More information will be provided by Landcare NSW in the coming weeks but in the meantime, please direct any questions to Jodie Lovell or Rachael Moss 

Federal MPs celebrate Landcare with new friendship group

Landcare NSW has expressed enthusiasm for the newly-formed Federal Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL).

“It’s very encouraging to see Members of the Federal Parliament taking an interest in our work,” said Landcare NSW CEO Dr Adrian Zammit. “This is especially important in the context of what will follow NLP2 in terms of long term funding and support for the grassroots community Landcare movement.”

NSW was the first State to form a friendship group in 2015. This group has been very successful and is highly valued by Landcarers and MPs.

“It has enabled us to build a relationship between the NSW Landcare community and the NSW Parliament, we constantly reinforce Landcare’s long tradition of bipartisanship,” said Dr Zammit.

This year, two Federal Senators – Perin Davey representing NSW, and Raff Ciccone representing Victoria – have created a group in the Federal Parliament which already has around 25 members.

Senator Davey is based in Deniliquin and knows a number of Landcarers in her local area.

The aims of the Federal PFL are to celebrate the success of Landcare and to help the community respond to challenges and opportunities. Senators Davey and Ciccone are planning events to enable interaction between Parliamentarians and the Landcare movement.

Landcare NSW encourages all Landcare groups in NSW to contact their Federal Member of Parliament and encourage them to join the Federal PFL.

All they need to do is contact the offices of either Senator Perin Davey or Senator Raff Ciccone, see contact details below.

Contact Senator Perin Davey
Contact Senator Raff Ciccone 

Media Releases

NLN_National Parlimentary Friends of Landcare_Media Release

Joint Media Release-Parliamentary Friends of Landcare- Ciccone Davey

National Landcare organisations – Time for a refresh

The Council of Landcare NSW has passed a resolution calling for the creation of a single, representative, national peak Landcare organisation that functions through and leverages the strengths of all existing State and Territory Landcare Peak Organisations (STOs).

The NSW Landcare community arrived at this majority view after a four-month consultation process.

At its 12 August 2020 meeting, Council resolved this reform is critical for the future of Landcare in Australia.

Specifically, Council resolved that the following points be conveyed to Landcare Australia Limited (LAL), National Landcare Network (NLN), all counterpart STOs and key Landcare stakeholders and partners.

1. LAL and NLN must immediately resume discussions to form one national Landcare body that represents grassroots Landcarers and provides the range of services needed to support and grow Landcare nationally.

2. This will require open, frank and professional discussion by those in national leadership positions regarding the issues that led to the failed merger and the rebuilding of trust to allow a meeting of the minds regarding the way forward.

3. A realistic timeframe for completion of the process must be set, albeit noting the urgency of the issue, and a formal process undertaken and resourced, with the requisite expertise.

4. The single merged national body must:
a. Bring together the strengths and competencies of the NLN (representation, advocacy, policy) and LAL (marketing, communications, fundraising, corporate relationships);
b. Have a federated representative structure that works through (and not around) each of the eight STOs to ensure Landcare community’s ‘bottom up’ ethos is preserved;
c. Must not include other environmental organisations, corporates nor other entities or individuals that are not deemed to be ‘Landcare’, as voting members of the new national body. Membership must be preserved for the eight STOs and independent board members of LAL;
d. Through a competitive and transparent recruitment process, must seek a leadership and management team that has the requisite skills and experience to lead and rejuvenate the Landcare movement nationally.

Council concluded: ‘As representatives of thousands of Landcare organisations, groups and individuals in NSW, we believe this reform is essential for the future of Landcare in Australia and request it be implemented with due care, responsibility and cooperation as a matter of urgency.’

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 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