THE future of Landcare has been assured with the announcement that a Minns Labor Government will boost its funding to a record $59 million over the next four years to support the 60,000 volunteers, 3,000 local groups and 84 full-time coordinators across NSW.
State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin says she has lobbied hard to secure this NSW Labor commitment on behalf of the North Coast Regional Landcare Network and all local Landcare groups within her electorate.
“The network’s chairperson Jim Kinkead briefed me on the need for more funding so that Landcare coordinators and volunteers can continue their great work with landholders across the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands regions,” Ms Saffin says.
“Jim’s network is made up of 11 catchment/local government area-based local Landcare Networks from the Tweed to the Hastings which support best practices for managing land and water across all landscapes for a healthy environment.
“I particularly want to thank my colleagues, NSW Shadow Minister for Regional NSW and Agriculture Mick Veitch MLC and NSW Shadow Minister for THE Environment Penny Sharpe MLC, for locking in this record funding for Landcare.”
Today’s announcement will ensure the grassroots volunteer organisation can get more boots on the ground to restore natural environments; expanding their program to attract and coordinate more volunteers, increase engagement with young people, and more quickly identify and tackle local environment issues.
Economic modelling shows this investment will generate $218 million in benefits for NSW with $3.70 of value for every dollar spent. The funding will enable Landcare to employ more than 84 community leaders mostly in rural and regional areas, including at least 13 positions for First Nations people, covering land management services for more than 60 per cent of the State.
Through thousands of local groups across NSW, 60,000 Landcare, Bushcare, Rivercare and Dunecare volunteers have worked to care for land and restore ecosystems for 34 years. In recent years, this work has included restoring landscapes after unprecedented fire and flood. This has been essential to protect threatened species and defend against pests, while at the same time building strong and lasting community connections.
Funding for the current Landcare Program is due to finish in NSW on 30 June 2023. Today’s record funding announcement will ensure this crucial environmental restoration program can continue and expand throughout NSW, benefiting both agricultural sectors and the natural environment.
A file photo of Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with Wilsons River Landcare Group Incorporated’s hard-working members.