The future of Landcare, should Labor win the election on Saturday, has been assured with the announcement that Labor will boost its funding to a record $59 million over the next four years to support the 60,000 volunteers, 3000 local groups and 84 full time coordinators across NSW.
NSW Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe, says the announced funding is to 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.
“After unprecedented fires and floods, as well as escalating land clearing, our ecosystems and landscapes are suffering in NSW.
“Landcare is one of the best ways to restore nature that we desperately need in NSW after more than a decade of environmental decline.
“Local Landcare groups are the backbone of their communities, this funding will ensure these groups can grow and thrive into the future, while making sure local environments are supported too,” she said.
NSW Shadow Minister for Regional NSW and Agriculture, Mick Veitch, says Labor has a proud legacy of supporting Landcare in NSW.
“For 34 years, Landcare has brought communities together with purpose to protect their local landscapes.”
“We can’t afford to lose the essential work Landcare does in building community partnerships while restoring soil and water, and defending against invasive species,” he said.
Economic modelling indicates this investment will generate $218 million in benefits for NSW with $3.70 of value for every dollar spent. Labor says 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% 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.