Landcare groups in Western Australia have formed a peak Landcare body, the WA Landcare Network Inc (WALN), to directly represent and support landcare groups across the state at the national level. WALN is effectively owned by the grassroots Landcarers. The operations of WALN are focused on providing improved support, coordination and capacity building to landcare groups and increase landcare's input into NRM decision making.
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State of Landcare Report Released - view here
The ‘State of landcare WA’ report released recently sends a warning that while the landcare movement is needed more than ever, government support and funding is diminishing.
“The success of Australian landcare grass roots approach, has been emulated by groups across Africa, NZ, Iceland, Canada and elsewhere in the world with great successi” said Keith Bradby, Deputy Chair of the WA Landcare Network, the peak landcare body for Western Australia. “This is because landcare provides a self-help mechanism that works for communities, and provides much needed care for public and private land, farms, water, bush and coasts.”
“It costs more not to do landcare. As far back as 2000 it was clear that land and water degradation across Australia costs us up to $3.5billion per yearii, even without including weeds and pests which are also substantial problems. Yesterday’s National State of Environment report underlines the ongoing damage being done to our soils and environment. We need to take greater care - landcare” said Mr Bradby.
“This initial State of landcare report documents a substantial decline in the number of local landcare groups operating in our farming and pastoral areas, a steady decline in the funds available for local initiatives and a weakening of statutory support to maintain the benefits of landcare work.”
“Of great concern”, said Mr. Bradby “is the lack of good data showing us just what is happening to the sustainability of our landscapes and our community efforts. Landcare has endured through numerous government policy changes, yet it increasingly appears that government is flying blind.”
The WA Landcare Network has set out what it sees as the resources necessary to sustain this community effort in its 2017 Policy Paper (see here).
“Despite the decrease in government support for landcare, it has survived in many forms and grown in some areas. Landcare marked a fundamental shift from WA’s land development eras, when we led the country in the extent of land clearing, to support the achievement of many important outcomes.
There have been many successes, no till farming is world class, the growth in Aboriginal Caring for Country programs across wide areas of WA is impressive, urban landcare and coastcare is flourishing. There is motivation in the community to do more,” said Mr Bradby. “What then could be achieved if more consistent and locally based support was provided across WA?”
The 2017 State of landcare report has been issued as a discussion paper to document the information currently available and to identify the additional information needed for good policy decisions.
What does community landcare in WA need?
1. Sustained, base-level support for landcare groups (estimated at $8 m per year)
Sustained professional support through a network of up to 70 local community based Landcare Support Officers; to plan, deliver and manage landcare projects, leverage additional funding and support, and bring about long change in their communities with sustainable farming and biodiversity improvements and building community resilience and capacity.
2. Sustained funding for landcare works (estimated at a minimum of $20 m per year)
A long-term policy commitment of state government to landcare is needed. A minimum of 3 – 5 year funding cycles with a forward rolling plan to enable local and regional landcare groups to plan for the future. Bilateral agreement with Commonwealth to secure funding commitments from both state and federal government annually with funding directed to those undertaking the work at the local level.
3. A WA Landcare Advisory Council or similar body to advise state government on landcare
We recommend the setting up of an advisory body made up of an equal number of representatives from the community and government reporting to the WA Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council. Such a body is conspicuously absent and is needed to provide timely, informed, independent policy advice direct to government on landcare, management of natural resources and community capacity building in Western Australia.
For more information contact:
WALN Secretary - email@example.com | 0428 514 292
WALN Vice Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org | 0427 085 008
The WALN is supported with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
WA Landcare Network will be running a survey over the next month
This survey seeks to collect the views of all those contributing to the sustainable management of our environment, lands and waters on how Landcare networks can support you in the great work that you do.
Landcare includes ‘friends of’ groups, agricultural groups, Waterwatch, Coastcare, Oceanwatch, Bushcare, Parkcare, environmental groups and others. We are keen to hear from you whatever your landcare interests are.
WALN believes in making a difference through strengthening the organising power and voice of community landcare groups in our State.
Photo By Aruni Jayasekera
WALN has clear objectives in its role as the voice of landcare groups in WA:
On-ground work, planning, sharing information, facilitation, celebration and promotion of achievements of landcarers are some of the things that landcare is about.
Delegates of the WALN Forum - 22 May 2015
Photo by Gerry Butler
WALN, NLN and NRM WA representatives at the NLN meeting 25 - 26 May 2015
Photo by Gerry Butler
Winners of the State Landcare Awards 2015. WALN Chair Jill Richardson (Above) and Deputy Chair Par Hart (Below) receiving their awards on 22 September 2015.
Photo by Aruni Jayasekera
WALN congratulates Keith Bradby (WALN - Treasurer) and family on the special occasion of Keith being awarded an OAM for his service to environmental conservation