Grassroots Community Landcare: The Linchpin for Disaster Preparedness in NSW and Australia

Grassroots Community Landcare: The Linchpin for Disaster Preparedness in NSW and Australia

Discussion Paper

A response to the “Alternative Commonwealth Capabilities for Crisis Response”, Discussion Paper – August 2023

By Dr Turlough Guerin, CEO, Landcare NSW

As the Federal Government unveils the “Alternative Commonwealth Capabilities for Crisis Response”
(referred to as the discussion paper), it’s crucial to highlight the indispensable role played by our communities in mitigating state and national-level crises.

This Federal Government discussion paper underscores the significance of grassroots initiatives, like those advocated by Landcare NSW, in building resilience and preparing communities against the escalating threats posed by climate change and other natural disasters impacting rural and regional areas.

Landcare NSW argues that further investment in disaster preparedness through the lens of nature-based solutions, delivered by local communities, is a compelling investment of taxpayer dollars, but also insurance against the most extreme effects of natural disasters in NSW and Australia.


Media Release: Record funding to support Landcare and deliver on-ground Landcare projects

Link to Media Release Released by Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Western New South Wales:

Record funding to support Landcare and deliver on-ground Landcare projects

The NSW Government has reached a major milestone on an election commitment, allocating funding for 83 full-time equivalent local and regional Landcare coordinators and support staff through its $59 million NSW Landcare Enabling Program 2023-2027.

Following a competitive grant and assessment process, 16 Landcare groups based across NSW were successful in receiving funding for coordinators and support staff.

The aim of the regional and local Landcare coordinators is to deliver and support on-ground projects specific to the needs of the local natural environmental and agricultural systems.

In addition to the delivery of on-ground projects, the local and regional coordinators will deliver on a number of other priorities, including:

  • Strengthening the capacity of Landcarers which will result in effective, efficient support to landcarer volunteers, farmers and the community ensuring effective collaboration and partnerships between Landcare groups, Local Land Services, other government agencies
  • Landcare NSW leveraging funding opportunities to maximise socio-economic and environmental outcomes.
  • As part of the funding, each local and regional coordinator can also access up to $5000 to undertake professional development over the course of the 4-year program.
    Get more information about the current funding opportunity and the NSW Landcare Enabling Program.

Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty said:

It gives me great pleasure to announce the successful applicants from this major funding opportunity.

There was strong interest in the funding opportunity and the NSW Landcare Enabling Program more broadly, so it’s great to have such engagement from our Landcare community.

I am also very pleased that the Landcare community have worked together on region wide applications in many cases. This will support better outcomes for the Landcare community.

By providing this funding, our coordinators will have more time to focus on improved facilitation and delivery of on-ground projects that care for our environment and boost agricultural productivity.

For the first time, support staff roles were also included and we know that was important to provide additional support with administrative tasks, allowing coordinators to focus on the delivery of on-ground projects.

Full list of grant recipients:

  • Central West Lachlan Landcare Inc.
  • North West Regional Landcarers Inc.
  • South East Landcare Inc.
  • Greater Sydney Landcare Network Incorporated.
  • West Hume Landcare Inc.
  • Holbrook Landcare Group Ltd.
  • Western Landcare NSW Inc.
  • Western Murray Land Improvement Group.
  • New England Landcare Network, Inc.
  • Corowa District Landcare Inc.
  • Mid Coast 2 Tops Landcare Connection Inc.
  • Hunter Region Landcare Network Inc.
  • Ricegrowers’ Association Of Australia Inc.
  • North Coast Regional Landcare Network (NSW).
  • Watershed Landcare Group Incorporated.
  • Murrumbidgee Landcare Association Incorporated.

Media Release: Landcare Coordinators to strengthen the capacity of Landcare across NSW

Landcare Coordinators to strengthen the capacity of Landcare across NSW

Landcare NSW welcomed the announcement of the first two phases of the $59 million NSW Landcare Enabling Program by the Hon. Tara Moriarty MLC, Minister for Agriculture, Regional NSW and Western NSW.

The first phase will see $33 million in funding allocated to employ 83 full-time equivalent local and regional Landcare coordinators and support staff across NSW.

The second phase will see $8.2 million in funding allocated to Landcare NSW to provide support to host organisations, coordinators and support roles that will enable this program to achieve essential environmental and agricultural productivity outcomes over the coming years.

Landcare NSW CEO, Turlough Guerin said:

“This is the result of many months of hard work by Landcare NSW, Local Land Services and the Landcare groups Landcare NSW advocates on behalf of. This will ensure adequate funding is provided to continue to grow support for the thousands of Landcare groups and the urban, rural and regional communities they work to protect across NSW.

“With a community network that is unmatched to assist the Government in implementing state-wide projects, Landcare is the ‘go-to-vehicle’ for service delivery in caring for our land and working to address the social, environmental and agricultural needs of our state.”

Critical to the success of the NSW Landcare Enabling Program are the 83 Local and Regional Landcare Coordinators and support staff who strengthen the capacity and empower tens of thousands of volunteers across 4,300 Landcare groups. Mr Guerin said:

 “These regional and rural roles will support the Landcare community to build capacity and implement projects that help the Government to respond to the many environmental challenges we are facing. This support ranges from sustainable farming and agriculture practices, biodiversity and landscape restoration; delivering education and extension projects; developing best-practice evaluation and growing Landcare’s partnership and volunteer base.”

Chair Gareth Johnston and Landcare NSW’s volunteer Board thanked the NSW Government for its support to continue the valuable work Landcare NSW is doing to grow resources and opportunities for its member groups.

“Our Landcare volunteers contribute hundreds of thousands of hours of in-kind labour valued at millions of dollars which also builds community inclusion, capacity and resilience.

“We look forward to further phases of funding being announced by the NSW Government to provide essential support to increase Landcare’s impact at a local, regional and state level.”

Link to Media Release Released by Minister for Agriculture, Regional NSW and Western NSW:

Phase 1: Record funding to support Landcare and deliver on-ground Landcare projects

Phase 2: Milestone reached in doubling Landcare funding

Announcement: Partnership with NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust is proud to be working with Landcare NSW to deliver private land conservation outcomes for NSW.

A new $1.4million program will be delivered by Landcare NSW over the next 18 months.

The program, titled Private Land Conservation Matters, will support landholders to learn, carry out and extend the use of best practice in private land conservation.

The program’s activities and support to landholders will be tailored to the different needs in regions around NSW.

In announcing the program at The Daily Telegraph Bush Summit, at Tamworth, on Friday, 11 August, Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe said landowners across NSW were important in reaching NSW Government conservation goals.

“Over 70 per cent of NSW is privately owned,” Minister Sharpe said. “So, one of the most meaningful things the NSW Government can do to protect our environment is support private landholders.

“Working with Landcare NSW will help us to do exactly that,” she said.

Delivery of the program recognises the shared interests of the organisations, namely the protection and management of biodiversity on private land in NSW.

Landcare NSW’s proven track record in community engagement and capacity building is highly valued by the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust and is a significant value-add to the program, the organisation’s Education Program team leader Alice McGrath said.

“Landcare NSW is a proven partner and has the networks to help us reach our audience. By combining our resources and working together, we can achieve better outcomes for the people of NSW, and for the environment,” Ms McGrath said.

The Private Landcare Conservation Matters project demonstrates the trust the NSW Government has in Landcare NSW and builds on the significantly increased commitment to the land conservation efforts.

“By working with landholders to manage threats and restore the environment on privately conserved lands, Landcare NSW can make a significant contribution to reversing the decline,” Landcare NSW CEO Turlough Guerin said.

“By working together and combining our extensive landholder networks, both organisations will achieve better outcomes for the people of NSW and the environment,” he said.

Link to Media Release: Private Land Conservation Matters | BCT (

2023 Trees in the House Event – NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare

On Tuesday, 1 August, over 90 Members of Parliament, Government Ministers, agency representatives and Landcarers from across the state came together to celebrate Landcare’s achievements and discuss future challenges at the ‘Trees in the House’ event hosted by the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL) at NSW Parliament House in Sydney.

Trees in the House is Landcare NSW’s yearly flagship event, co-hosted with the bipartisan NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare group. The event recognises the vital work Landcarers do every day in their local community, showcases the success and resilience of the Landcare movement, and allows Landcarers and MPs to connect with and offer support to Landcare. 

The key messages from the event included the importance of governments partnering with grassroots movements on complex issues such as environment, farming, and climate change, including the need for co-design, co-delivery, and co-management of government programs. Landcare’s immense social capital and local knowledge to deliver excellent program outcomes were also highlighted, as well as Landcare’s proven track record with implementing statewide government programs.

Landcare NSW Chair Stephanie Cameron said, “We have achieved much, and by building a strong foundation with a bold vision, we can attain even greater success in the years to come.”

“It’s through the power of the Landcare movement working with communities that we see knowledge being shared and new ideas implemented. When you give these groups tools, resources, information and power, they solve problems for the long term,” Ms Cameron said.

The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL) is a cross-party group of NSW Members of Parliament who have a common interest in demonstrating support for the goals of Landcare and a commitment to advancing the environmental, social and economic benefits that sustainable land and water management are unlocking in NSW.

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL) gives Landcare NSW the platform to brief MPs from all political parties on news and issues related to Landcare NSW, furthering relationships with politicians at the state and local levels.

The name Trees in the House stems from 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.

Landcare NSW thanks the newly appointed PFL Co-Chairs, Steve Whan, Member for Monaro and Michael Kemp, Member for Oxley, for hosting a fantastic event. And the Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC, Minister for Climate Change, Minister for Energy, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Heritage and The Hon. Tara Moriarty MLC, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Regional New South Wales, Minister for Western New South Wales for speaking at the event and their ongoing support for Landcare NSW. 



Photo shows: Mr Gurmesh Singh MP, Member for Coffs Harbour and newly elected Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Landcare group with members of South Coffs Community Garden Inc. 

The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL) group has a new Chair Mr Gurmesh Singh MP, Member for Coffs Harbour. The PFL brings together Members of Parliament from all political parties who have a common interest in supporting the goals of Landcare.

Landcare NSW CEO, Mr Turlough Guerin said “We welcome Gurmesh Singh as the new Chair and look forward to building on the great work that has been achieved through the PFL to date.

“Partnerships and bipartisan support for Landcare are crucial to sustaining a strong grassroots movement and strengthening Landcare’s ties with our elected representatives is essential.”

Mr Guerin thanked outgoing Chair The Hon Dugald Saunders MP, Member for Dubbo: “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank The Hon Dugald Saunders MP for the contribution he has made to Landcare at the local, regional and state level as he leaves his role as Chair of the PFL and takes on the portfolio of Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales,” Mr Guerin said.

Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina has stepped down from her role as Secretary and Treasurer and the roles have been filled by newly appointed Secretary Roy Butler MP, Member for Barwon and Treasurer David Layzell MP, Member for Upper Hunter.

Mr Guerin expressed his appreciation to the new PFL team and to all MPs who have joined the PFL and shown their support for Landcare in NSW.

“The PFL provides an avenue for Members of Parliament to connect with and offer support to Landcare at the state level and locally in suburbs, regional towns and farming communities. MPs have the opportunity to celebrate the success of Landcare and to help the Landcare community respond to challenges and opportunities together,” said Mr Guerin.

“It is an acknowledgement of the enormous contribution of the many thousands of ‘hands on’ community Landcarers across NSW who are committed to looking after their environments. Together our volunteers work to conserve our unique flora and fauna, restore our soils and waterways, and promote the adoption of sustainable land management practices.”

“We look forward to sharing with the Parliamentary Friends of Landcare the many exciting local Landcare projects and activities happening in NSW and invite them to see firsthand the great work of our community Landcarers on the ground”, Mr Guerin added.

Landcare brings people from together for the common cause of caring for our land, environment and communities and is a longstanding and successful volunteer movement.

New PFL Chair Gurmesh Singh, Member for Coffs Harbour with the Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare group.

Mr Singh said, “As a big supporter of Landcare it is a privilege to lead the PFL and spread awareness of Landcare in the NSW Parliament.

“I have worked closely with Landcare groups in my area and this gives me more opportunity to convey their achievements and help progress their goals,” he said.

Mr Singh encouraged MPs and MLCs who haven’t already joined, to sign up to the PFL.

“Not only will local Landcare groups appreciate your support, but you will learn a lot and forge new connections throughout your communities,” he said.

“Every weekend across New South Wales groups of people of all ages and backgrounds are doing their bit to look after and improve our environment,” said Mr Singh.


Media enquiries:

Jodie Lovell | Communications & Stakeholder Relationships Specialist
Landcare NSW Inc.
T  0439 316 151 |

2019 Gerald Carnie Memorial Award Recipient Announced

Mr Robert Dulhunty was last night awarded the 2019 Gerald Carnie Memorial Award at a ceremony in Broken Hill in recognition of his local, regional and statewide contribution to Landcare over 30 years.

Rob has been a passionate member of the Landcare movement since his initial involvement through the Furracabad Landcare Group in 1989. He was an active participant of the district Landcare network for the Glen Innes area – GLENRAC – from 1989 until 2009. After helping to found Landcare NSW in 2007, he was Chair from 2011 to 2018 during a period of phenomenal growth that saw the organisation develop as the peak body for Landcare and community NRM.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit said, “Rob’s depth of knowledge and vision for the Landcare movement demonstrates the ‘fire in the belly’ he has for Landcare.

“He was instrumental in the growth of his local Landcare group, helped to build Landcare in his region and took up the challenge of leading a statewide organisation to give grassroots Landcarers a voice.

“His efforts have resulted in a strong and sustainable Landcare community in NSW and this award is well-earned recognition for his contribution over many years.

“The quality of all those who were nominated for this award is extraordinary. Our movement is full of unsung heroes who inspire their neighbours to get involved in Landcare and do something positive for our landscapes and communities. I acknowledge them all and thank them for their work,” said Dr Zammit.

The Gerald Carnie Memorial Award for Keeping the Landcare Flame Alive was established by Landcare NSW to recognise Gerald’s special individual contribution to the Landcare movement.

The award is proudly supported by the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL) as the official partner and sponsor.

Chair of the PFL, Mr Dugald Saunders, Member for the Dubbo Electorate said: “I have seen Landcare’s efforts firsthand and I am very impressed at the results you are achieving. On behalf of all my colleagues in the PFL, can I say your work is valued and much appreciated.”

At the award ceremony, held as part of the 2019 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference in Broken Hill, one of the founders of Landcare NSW and current Landcare NSW Councillor David Walker said: “Gerald Carnie had the Landcare fire in his belly. He spoke about the importance of the spark of individual awareness, ownership and action as being basic to getting uptake of practice change and conservation.

“Gerald’s work in Landcare was the embodiment of this conviction, and the Gerald Carnie Memorial Award is a testament to people who ensure the persistence and the spread of the Landcare flame,” Mr Walker said.

The Gerald Carnie Memorial Award is awarded every two years in conjunction with the State Landcare Awards.
The award is given to an individual in recognition of their contribution to the development of ‘the philosophy of Landcare’. The recipient champions the development of Landcare to support a change in attitudes, which translates to a more cohesive and resilient community that acts to achieve a healthier environment and/or more productive and sustainable farms.

Applicants are judged on the impact they have had at the local and regional or state scale to ensure that Landcare can prosper. The finalists for the Award for 2019 are:

Harry Bentley – Berridale Rocky Plains Landcare
Harry Bentley has been involved with Berridale Rocky Plains Landcare and the Upper Snowy Landcare Network in various roles including Secretary and Treasurer. He has inspired a new generation of Landcarers in his region to take on the task of re-populating the Monaro with trees in order to regenerate the land, draw down carbon, recover biodiversity and restore land value.

Nerida Croker – Fullerton Hadley Landcare
Nerida is a founding member of the Fullerton Hadley Landcare Group (FHL), established in 2001 and has held the position of Chair ever since. Nerida has also been an active member of the award-winning Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link Partnership (K2W), a Great Eastern Ranges conservation initiative, since 2012, and served as joint chairperson of the K2W steering committee.

Daintry Gerrand – Manning Coastcare
Daintry Gerrand established Manning Coastcare Group in 1996 and has worked tirelessly for this group for 23 years. She is a founding committee member of the North Coast Regional Landcare Network and Mid Coast 2 Tops Landcare Connection. She has served on the Landcare NSW Council as regional representative for the North Coast and works professionally as a Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator with Hunter Local Land Services.

In June 2011, Gerald Carnie, a committed Landcarer from the Parkes area, died suddenly at the age of 46, leaving his wife Lorraine and sons, Ryan and Jarrod, grieving and the Landcare community shocked. We continue to recognise Gerald and his contribution to Landcare with this special Award.

For further information contact:
Landcare NSW
Jodie Lovell, Communications Officer
0439 316 151