Welcome to the first edition of The Advocate for 2018.
Landcare NSW welcomed in the new year with a Council Meeting and Partnership Forum in Sydney in early February. I would like to thank all Councillors who attended and also our partner guests; Peter Bridgewater (National Landcare Network), The Hon. Gary Nairn AO, Alan Goodwin and Mark Sheehan (Biodiversity Conservation Trust) and Richard Bull, Shenal Basnayake and Chris McCulloch (Local Land Services). The meetings set the scene for the coming year, which is set to be another busy and highly productive
time for Landcare NSW.
We are working hard to support NSW Landcarers as your peak body and you will read plenty of evidence of this in this latest edition of The Advocate, including how Landcare NSW is working hard to secure funding from the NSW Government to enable a seamless transition to the next phase of the LLCI program and to diversify revenue streams and provide funding opportunities for our member groups through the Container Deposit Scheme Audit contract and our ongoing Membership and Insurance Package for NSW Landcare Groups.
The Landcare NSW Team, Executive and Council are looking forward to supporting all Landcare initiatives in NSW during 2018.
Landcare NSW has appointed Adrian Zammit as new CEO to steer the organisation through the next stage of growth.
Adrian began his role on 19 February and was able to take part in the February Councillor Induction Workshop and Council meeting which gave him a good overview of the organisation. The CEO’s role will be to build partnerships, generate new funding sources and deliver services that are valued by the Landcare community.
Adrian comes to Landcare NSW from his previous role as Chief Operating Officer with Healthy Land and Water, an independent not-for-profit responsible for protecting natural resources in South East Queensland.
With the support of the NSW Government and Local Land Services, Landcare NSW is building its capability and capacity to better support the 60,000-strong volunteer Landcare community.
Landcare NSW Chair, Rob Dulhunty, said he was delighted with the appointment, describing Adrian as a highly qualified person for the job with a science and commercial background, and a passion for working with the community to change the way we interact with the natural environment.
“As a result of programs underway, including the Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative, the operational task of leading Landcare NSW has grown significantly. We felt the time was right to engage our first Chief Executive Officer to support the valuable work that our member groups and volunteer Landcarers do,” said Mr Dulhunty.
“A healthy and well supported Landcare movement will equip us for future challenges and empowers capable and willing volunteers to work to protect and restore our natural environment.”
Adrian has a Master of Business Administration (General and Strategic Business Management) and a PHD in Agriculture.
He is a senior executive and team builder with over 24 years’ experience in numerous leadership, senior executive and technical leadership roles in environmental consultancy and advisory companies.
2018 - renewals and new member groups welcome
Last year Landcare NSW launched its inaugural membership and Insurance program which gave members groups the opportunity to access a tailor made insurance program for Landcare groups, available at a reasonable price.
We have had nearly 200 groups take up the insurance offer in 2017. This number not only helps keep our premiums down, it helps ensure that we have consistency across the State in how our groups are covered, providing reassurance to all Committee members, staff, members and volunteers.
If you are one of these 200 groups you would have already received information from our insurance broker on the renewal process for 2018.
The insurance program is open to all incorporated groups who take out a membership of Landcare NSW – it's likely that the cost of membership and insurance combined will cost you less than you are currently paying for your group insurance.
If your group is eligible and you are not currently a Landcare NSW member group, we invite you to join the Landcare NSW Membership and Insurance program in 2018 - click here for more information.
In addition, by joining Landcare NSW you add your voice to the efforts of Landcare NSW as we work to get more support and a better deal for Landcare /Bushcare/Coastcare/Rangecare and similar groups in NSW. Please see the Membership & Insurance brochure for more information.
Regional Container Deposit Scheme
Landcare NSW was successful in winning the Regional Container Deposit Scheme Auditing contract with Exchange for Change. This role will see Landcare representatives perform routine inspections on the many automated and manual collection points that have been installed across NSW since the scheme started on the 1st December 2017, in exchange for a fee. This is another example of how Landcare NSW is working to diversify revenue streams and provide funding opportunities for our member groups.
With our first quarter's inspections nearing completion we are on track for our quota of performing 60 inspections with thanks to Coffs Harbour, Manning, Shoalhaven, Tamworth, Illawarra, North Coast Regional Landcare Network, Hunter & Lake Macquarie, Far South Coast, Holbrook and Rice Growers. Next quarter will focus on new installations throughout the Northern Tablelands and Slopes, Central Tablelands, Central West, Murrumbidgee, Lachlandcare and Western regions.
For more information, please contact Melissa Joseph, Sustaining Landcare Project Manager on 0414 499 666 or email@example.com.
$32.5 million needed for local, regional and statewide Landcare support
Landcarers are urging the NSW Government to continue working with Landcare NSW on a policy and funding package to ensure Landcarers in rural, coastal and urban areas have the support they need to carry out their valuable work to protect and restore our natural resources.
The Government’s NSW Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative ends in June 2019. To enable a seamless transition to the next phase of the program, an allocation is sought in this year’s State Budget. Read more here.
“The NSW Government has been consistent in its support for Landcare, as have all MPs through the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Landcare. We can’t risk breaking the momentum that’s been built over the past three years,” said Landcare NSW Chair Rob Dulhunty.
“With leadership from the NSW Government and Local Land Services, Landcare is undergoing a resurgence. We’re seeing new groups forming and old groups being revived, leading to a substantial increase in voluntary activity to protect and restore our natural resources.
“Landcare makes economic sense. Our 60,000 Landcarers invest their own time and money in activities that otherwise would fall to governments to provide at a far greater cost.
Recently the Minister, the Hon Niall Blair MLC, was asked a question in Parliament. He expressed his strong support for Landcare while querying why the $15 million for the current Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative (LLCI) has increased to an estimated $32.5 million.
The $32.5 million covers the four year cost of an effective Landcare support program of local and regional Landcare coordinators and statewide services provided by Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.
In 2014 Landcare NSW advised the Government the cost of Landcare support was around $30m over four years. The $32.5m estimate for the next period includes a previously unfunded element, that of an Aboriginal Landcare initiative, which the Landcare community has consistently identified as a high priority.
The actual amount required from the State Government Budget is reliant upon the level of co-investment from the partnership with Local Land Services and possibly other NSW Government agencies. Funding provided to the NSW Government from the Federal Government’s National Landcare Program (NLP2) is a key consideration. Landcare NSW is also working to generate revenue through membership, donations and fee-for-service arrangements to contribute to the funds needed.
The constraints of all partners and governments are recognised, however a partially funded Landcare support program is unviable and will diminish the returns on investment achieved through the initial four year initiative. With ongoing core support, Landcare groups will be able to continue building partnerships and bringing funding opportunities to their regions, generating a host of spin off benefits.
At the recent LNSW Council meeting, regional representatives were shown the results of the work Landcare NSW has been doing under the LLCI to do a “stocktake” of Landcare and similar groups in NSW. Thirteen identified Landcare regions support 85 district Landcare / Bushcare networks, which support nearly 2000 groups under their umbrellas. A further 850 groups exist, that are currently not linked to a network, or their status is unknown. Work is continuing to better understand the status of these groups and their support requirements.
We have also revamped the NSW Landcare Gateway to show how Landcare is structured and supported across NSW, Regions and districts now have their own regional page and we are encouraging these groups to keep the pages updated and put their best foot forward in showcasing Landcare across our state. Individual groups can have their own pages, which are also linked to their district/regional pages. The group page can be as simple as a landing page linking people to your groups own web page, or your group can use the Gateway as their full web presence and intra group communication platform. Visit www.landcare.nsw.gov.au to see what Landcare in your region is up to and to find out how to place your group on Gateway.
The next round of case studies developed under the LLCI is available on Gateway – these are a great tool to learn what other groups are doing. Click here to take a look – just use the search function to look up any interests your groups may have and learn from others.
In preparation for the quarterly meetings Regional Representatives complete a survey designed to gather trends on how Landcare is travelling, as well as gain information on specific topical issues.
When asked what are the greatest strengths Landcare has in their regions:
the key strength indicated were the networks that had been established, and the distributed network that was forming in the regions under the current support programs
Coordinators were also seen as a providing a key strength
Regions recognised the people involved as a key strength - committee, volunteers, staff and partners, but also recognised the processes that supported these - i.e. experiences, relationships, togetherness, support, being nimble
When asked what Issues are Landcare regions facing
Funding & Resources (lack of access to sufficient resources) was a key issue
The changes to the RLF project to the RALF was a major concern
The change in relationships with LLS (as a result of the NLP2 process) featured significantly
The impact of legislation (Biodiversity Conservation Act) and or changes in other Acts
It is significant that Regions are recognising the biggest issues in their region are not the biophysical challenges listed previously, but rather the support and resourcing to deal with those issues; and the need to understand and influence the partnerships and legislative process that impact on their ability to respond to those issues.
The Partnership Forum held at the February Council meeting also allowed Landcare NSW Councillors to provide an update on Landcare in their region, providing first-hand information to our guests Richard Bull, Chair Local Land Services, Shenal Basnayake, Director Major Programs, and Chris McCulloch Landcare Program Manager, on the Landcare - Local Land Services partnership in their regions.
A major focus of discussion was NLP2; and to assist Landcare NSW with their representational work several questions on NLP2 and the partnership were included in the regional reporting.
A copy of the February regional report can be accessed here.
Shop online and SAVE with the Landcare NSW Supporter Program!
Register today to take advantage of everyday discounts and benefits EACH and EVERYTIME you shop from a list of leading brands and retailers. The program puts the power to save and donate in your hands!
Not only do you get significant discounts, you also provide support for Landcare NSW to allow us to continue the work we do in support of community Landcare. The Landcare Trust Project is progressing well in building and enacting the necessary infrastructure needed to diversify our funding sources.
For more information, please contact Melissa Joseph, Sustaining Landcare Project Manager on 0414 499 666 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Update - Landcare nationally
Two pressing issues nationally are NLP2 and the creation of a new Landcare national organisation.
The roll out of NLP2 (National Landcare Program) creates challenges and opportunities. Even though the word ‘landcare’ is in the program title, there is no guarantee funds will reach Landcare on the ground. That depends on the ability of groups to apply for a limited pool of grants and, more importantly, Landcare’s success in working with our partners in Local Land Services to make the most of limited funds.
Most NLP funding will come through the Regional Land Partnerships initiative ($450m over 5 years) commencing July 2018. Tenders went in on 28 February and we are awaiting news. Landcare NSW is working hard with our colleagues at Local Land Services to embed a partnership approach at the state level and encourage the partnership throughout the regions.
While the NSW Local Landcare Coordinator Initiative provides invaluable support for Landcare, many of our groups rely on NLP funds that come via Local Land Services for their continued existence. If state, federal and local governments want engaged and supported communities to work on NRM, they need to help keep the Landcare movement going.
The formation of a new national body for Landcare is another critical issue for the Landcare community. Articles on this have been featured in the last two editions of The Advocate and the issues have been discussed at length by Council over the past four years. See http://landcarensw.org.au/publications/the-advocate-newsletter/
Currently there are two national Landcare bodies:
- Landcare Australia Limited (LA), which was formed at the beginning of Landcare,
- National Landcare Network (NLN) which was formed in 2009 by the state and territory peak Landcare bodies to provide a voice for Landcare in Canberra.
The NLN is a federated body which represents grassroots Landcare in the national policy and program arena, and provides a mechanism for information-sharing at the state and territory level. It is a representative body that acts in accordance with the views of the community.
LA is an independent NGO whose members are its directors. The objectives of LA are to promote Landcare, raise money for Landcare and provide specific services such as the national conference. LA are the custodians of the Landcare brand on behalf of the Landcare community and hold DGR status awarded to them on behalf of the entire Landcare movement, enabling tax deductible donations.
In 2017 the Federal Government backed the Landcare community’s calls for reform agreeing that one national body was needed to provide the services and representation needed by the Landcare movement. The Federal Government funded a consultant who provided detailed advice on the formation of new national fit for purpose organisation.
Landcare NSW believes it is critical these organisations understand the needs of our grassroots Landcarers and carry out their activities in accordance with those needs. Landcare NSW has worked on these issues over a long period in an effort to ensure an outcome that reflects the community’s wishes.
Landcare NSW raised concerns about progress at our February meeting. We were pleased the Chair of NLN, Peter Bridgewater, attended and listened to the views of our representatives from around NSW.
Landcare NSW looks forward to constructively working through these with NLN and LA.
Councillor Induction Workshop
With a number of new regional representatives joining the Landcare NSW Council, an induction workshop for Landcare NSW Councillors was held in conjunction with the February Council meeting. This workshop aimed to assist regional representatives better understand where Landcare NSW fits in the NRM and community landscape; how it operates; and their role as Council members. It was also an opportunity for Landcare NSW staff and Executive to better understand what support Councillors need to be effective in their role.
Landcare NSW Council member confidence to be an effective regional representative before (left) and after (right) the Council Induction Workshop.
The role they play as regional representatives is critical in ensuring Landcare NSW delivers for you – the Landcare groups on the ground.
The regional representatives are appointed by the regional Landcare community of your region. For the Council members to be an effective representative and conduit we encourage groups to work through the regional Landcare bodies or collectives to help keep your Landcare NSW Councillor abreast of matters in your region. You can find their contact details on the Landcare NSW website.
The Workshop was supported with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust.
Aboriginal Culture in Landcare
Building partnerships at a state level between Landcare and Aboriginal people is a priority in Landcare NSW’s strategic plan. At the Muster in 2017, Landcare NSW gave a commitment to give feedback to participants and further the conversation regarding Aboriginal communities and Landcare working together.
Since the Muster, Landcare NSW has hosted a teleconference and met with some of the Indigenous Muster delegates in Sydney, and with Amanda Morgan from Local Land Services who is tasked with Aboriginal Engagement for her organisation.
The discussions were positive with Jeanette and David Crew (pictured above) invited to present at the Landcare NSW Council Meeting in February. David and Jeanette provided an overview of the vast array of existing indigenous organisations currently working in land management and the need for Landcare to recognise the complexity and understand indigenous sea and country programs.
During his presentation, David asked the question "Is it really Aboriginal Landcare or rather Aboriginal culture in Landcare?"
Some ideas being explored include the potential to create a state peak body to represent Aboriginal groups working on environmental projects; develop a set of guiding principles or strategy for Landcare NSW that incorporates information on protocols for Aboriginal engagement, what to consider in traditional land management practices, consideration of the role of representation, advocacy and authority; code of due diligence for Aboriginal site protection and landscapes; and create a directory of organisations in each region
Most critically, we as Landcarers need to be able to identify and take steps towards what we value with our existing partnerships and build a strategy to work more closely and respectfully with our first nations people. Many of the delegates are keen to meet again in June to discuss some short and longer term goals for strengthening how we work together.
A summary of the input of grassroots Landcarers from the Landcare NSW Muster, and linking these asks to the strategic plan of Landcare NSW was presented at the February Council meeting. The full Muster report will be available shortly on our website at http://landcarensw.org.au/news-events/musters/
Thank you to all who participated in the Muster and through the regional mini Musters. This process provides an important information loop for Landcare NSW to ensure that our efforts are directed at delivering on your needs.
The 2017 Muster was brought to you by Landcare NSW with the support of the NSW Environmental Trust and the National Landcare Program.
The new Biodiversity Conservation Trust -
programs announced for 2018
Biodiversity Conservation Trust Board Director The Hon. Gary Nairn AO, Director Regional Delivery, Alan Goodwin and Mark Sheahan, Regional Coordinator North Coast came and spoke to the Landcare NSW Council as part of the February Council meeting in Sydney.
The Minister for Environment and the BCT Chair, the Hon. Robert Hill, recently launched the BCT’s Business Plan and announced the first round of BCT programs to be rolled out from this month.
The BCT is offering $37 million in its first round of programs in 2018; and will offer a further $60 million in 2018–19.
In March and April, it will call for up to $16 million in tenders from interested landholders to participate in the Conservation Management Program. The first three tender invitations will target high environmental values in parts of the Murray-Riverina, Northern Inland and Central West regions.
BCT Chairperson the Hon. Robert Hill AC said, "In April, we will invite tenders for up to $2 million to protect priority koala habitat, initially on the North Coast.
"We have set aside $2 million to support fixed rate offers to landholders with high biodiversity conservation values on their land wishing to enter funded conservation agreements.
"This will apply across high priority areas and will be available from 30 April 2018.
"We have dedicated $2 million per annum for Conservation Partners Grants. From 30 April, our existing and new landholders will be able to apply for grants from the BCT to support conservation actions, such as pest or weed control on their properties," Mr Hill said.
The BCT has also allocated $15 million to its Revolving Fund, which will purchase high conservation value properties and resell them with a conservation agreement to interested purchasers.
The implementation of some BCT programs – such as the Conservation Tender - will require additional support and collaboration from Local Landcare Coordinators and Host Organisations, and the BCT will provide support to Landcare to assist with this.