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National Landcare Program

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Media Release

The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage

The Hon John Cobb MP Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security

Monday 26 August 2013

National Landcare Program

The Coalition will place Landcare back at the centre of our land management programs.

We will merge Caring for Country and Landcare to create a single National Landcare Program to reflect local and regional program priorities.

This will be based on three core principles which both Landcare and local conservation groups have sought:

- Simple: we will make sure that the paperwork is dramatically simplified. - Local: we will return the focus to local projects that reflect regional priorities. - Long Term: we will seek wherever possible to increase the proportion of funding allocated on a three year basis so as to provide certainty and to reduce paperwork.

Instead of being shut out of Caring for Country, farmers and Landcare groups as well as local conservation groups will have access to a significantly greater proportion of the National Landcare Program which brings together Landcare and Caring for Country.

Landcare will therefore have access to a greater share of the new National Landcare Program.

In addition, for the first time, the State and national Landcare Networks will receive a combined base operational funding of $1 million per annum. This will give the Landcare Networks much-needed support to co-ordinate their volunteer operations.

“The Coalition will give Landcare significantly greater access to the Caring for Country pool of funds, as well as the current Landcare funding,” Shadow Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Minister, Greg Hunt said.

“We will also give Landcare a greater say in setting local and regional priorities in recognition of the importance of grassroots work and input. We have listened to local communities and we will put Landcare at the heart of our land conservation programs,” Mr Hunt said.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, John Cobb said: “Over the last six years, Landcare has increasingly been excluded from the decision making processes in both Canberra and the regional bodies. Volunteers spend hours filling in grant applications only to find they don’t meet the criteria set by bureaucrats or must reapply every 12 months.”

“We should be supporting these hard working volunteers, not drowning them in a pile of paperwork. We want to encourage them to continue their valuable local work on the land,” Mr Cobb said.

Within six months of forming Government, the Coalition will release guidelines based on consultation with Catchment Management Authorities, Natural Resource Management (NRM) Boards, Local Land Services and Landcare Groups that will give priority to the principles of Local, Simple and Long Term.

The full Caring for Country and Landcare budgets will be maintained and merged. Working on Country will be maintained as a separate program given its success, but will be known as the Indigenous Landcare Program.

Mr Hunt was joined by Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie, Liberal Candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley and Nationals Candidate, Sarah Sheedy to make the announcement at a property outside Bendigo in central Victoria where work has been undertaken by Landcare.

“Ultimately we have listened to local communities and we will put Landcare at the heart of our land conservation programs,” Senator McKenzie said.

National Landcare Network Chair, David Walker said: “Landcare is about building community networks, and this announcement will make a big difference to our ability to do this. To have base funding so we can co-ordinate our program and to be recognised for what we can contribute in the decision making process is welcomed.”

Landcare Chief Executive, Vickie Webb said: “Landcare has done the hard environmental work in Australia and those in rural communities are very much aware of the contribution we have made. This announcement will give Landcare the opportunity to play a key role in ensuring the on-the-ground work is occurring where it’s needed and will give the volunteers a much-needed boost.

“Streamlining the application and reporting for funding will be of great assistance to the Landcare community. Landcare volunteers, including farmers and rural, urban and coastal groups don’t want to be continually filling out reports, they want to be hands-on improving their land and local environment, as well as contributing to the sustainable management of Australia’s changing landscapes,” Ms Webb said.

Media Contact: Wendy Black 0418 532 534

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National Landcare Program: Bringing Together Landcare and Caring for our Country

Minister and Department • Policy • Large Grant Approvals • Auditing

NRM Groups • Regional Plan • Large Grant Recommendations • Small and Medium Grant Approvals

Large Grants > $200,000

Medium Grants $50,000 to $200,000

Small Grants < $50,000

With a Landcare representative

Landcare groups and other land and environment managers

The Working on Country Program will remain a separate program

NRM Base Funding