Last Friday the Liberals and Nationals Government announced that they would provide $22.4 million to ongoing support to the Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative (LLCI).
This funding will provide funding for approximately 60 part-time (.5EFT) roles across NSW, over four years. The Initiative will also now provide 11 new Regional Landcare Coordinators, a new Aboriginal Landcare program, as well as providing funding towards training and support.
Landcare across the State makes a significant contribution and is made up of volunteers across urban and regional communities who have one thing in common…they care about the environment that they live in and want to see it sustained and improved for future generations.
It was a pleasure to meet with Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair MP on the banks of the beautiful Macquarie River on Friday in Dubbo, where he delivered the announcement and expressed his commitment to the longevity of Landcare.
In the Aurecon Study produced in 2018, it was estimated that by providing support to the NSW Landcare community, there are net benefits of up to $500 million a year. Find out more about the Aurecon Report here (Landcare NSW website).
Over the past three and a half years of the previous program, we (CWLL) received funding to employ me in a part-time role working over the Parkes and Forbes Shires. This funding was built on with funding through the National Landcare Programme and other projects that we have independently sourced.
One of these programs was The Green Army, which was Federally funded. In terms of financial gain from this program, that was minimal for Landcare, but in terms of gain for our community and being able to train and engage young unemployed people, it was priceless!
When I speak with Landcare people, who have been engaged with the program, it seems to have such a mixed response in terms of success. We were obviously fortunate to partner with Skillset Environment, to deliver the Programme.
In saying that, it was hard work for most of the 18 months, but as you would know with any project, or even commencing a new job or role, once you have 18 months under your belt, you have learnt the ropes and have systems in place.
Nothing warms my heart like seeing or hearing from one of our Teams. Seeing them contributing to our community and just being fabulous, imperfect humans, just like me, make the long days and the stress and the grey hairs all worth it.
The financial benefits that resulted from the combination of the State LLCI program, the Federal Green Army Programme and other projects that we have sourced over that time, the investment in a part-time role results in figures towards $1 million dollars over the four years. With much of this put back into our communities and invested in our young people. This has also been made possible with the fantastic support from Parkes and Forbes Shire Councils.
I hope that there are other opportunities like this around the corner. Looking forward, myself and Landcare NSW are working hard to pursue other opportunities that will provide support to our communities and environment.
Of course, as we all know, in this interesting political environment where Orange electorate have just received an offer of $25 million for a stadium from our Premier, we never know what is around the corner and the best we can do is continue and plan with the resources that we have available. For people like me, who enjoy following politics and human behaviour, it will be an interesting time over the next month until the State election.
Until next week, happy Landcaring!
Marg Applebee, Coordinator, CWLL