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 Response1”, Discussion Paper – August 2023

By Dr Turlough Guerin, CEO, Landcare NSW2

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 phase 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. 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, Minister for Western New South Wales: Record funding to support Landcare and deliver on-ground Landcare projects

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 (nsw.gov.au)

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. 

 

New partnership to reach one million trees target announced at NSW Parliament House

A new partnership between Landcare NSW and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment was announced last night in Sydney at Landcare NSW’s annual Trees in the House event at NSW Parliament House.

In support of the Premier’s Priority to Green our City, Landcare NSW has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to help plant one million trees in the Greater Sydney area by 2022. This is part of the NSW Government’s program to plant five million trees in Greater Sydney by 2030.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit, said: “Landcare NSW is pleased to bring the skills and dedication of our extensive networks to help meet this ambitious target. Our shared challenge is not only to get the trees in the ground but to do the follow up work necessary to ensure they survive; a stable and properly-funded Landcare system is critical to the success of this initiative.”

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said: “We’ve set an ambitious target to increase Greater Sydney’s tree cover and partnerships like this one with Landcare NSW will be vital to achieve it.”

Trees in the House, Landcare NSW’s yearly flagship event, is co-hosted with the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare (PFL) group. The PFL is a cross-party group of NSW Members of Parliament who have a common interest in demonstrating support for the goals of Landcare.

Guests were given a native seedling to take away and plant. Trees adopted on the night were registered online and will count towards the target.

The evening also focused on the NSW Landcare Program (2019 – 2023), which is a continuation of the previous Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative (2015 – 2019) and in particular the new regional coordinator role.

The NSW Landcare Program (2019 – 2023) is a $22.4 million investment co-delivered by Landcare NSW and NSW Local Land Services to unlock the potential of the extensive volunteer network and Landcare movement across NSW.

A 2018 study found Landcare contributes $500m to the economy every year.

Landcare NSW CEO, Dr Adrian Zammit, said the Regional Landcare Coordinators will play an important role in growing the effectiveness of the network of Local Landcare Coordinators.

“We’re seeing the overall health of Landcare groups surge because of the on-ground support that Local Landcare Coordinators are providing. The addition of Regional Landcare Coordinators will play a pivotal role in growing the effectiveness of our statewide Landcare network. They are the drivers of regional resource and knowledge sharing and will coordinate and leverage the strategic goals of Landcare NSW and its member groups.

“The work that Landcare groups do every day across NSW directly benefits us all, but establishing resilient landscapes and communities especially during these trying times of prolonged drought and now bushfires, requires ongoing support and resources which is why our partnership with the NSW Government is fundamental to our ongoing operations,” Dr Zammit said.

The Regional Landcare Coordinator is a new role with nine of 11 positions already filled. They will work with 68 part time Local Landcare Coordinators who support a 60,000-strong volunteer network.